Google Drive for Linux – Insync

Recently, my Dropbox has begun to fill up completely, which kind of sucks. Over the years, I’ve taken a liking to using Cloud Storage for various things, even though I was initially quite skeptical and opposed to the concept. As my main OS of choice is Linux nowadays, and Dropbox has had good Linux support for years, this was a logical choice.

Of course, Dropbox is not the only player in town. Microsoft has its Skydrive, and Google has Drive. Skydrive has great uses, and its really well integrated into Windows 8. Of course, there is no Linux client, so I won’t be using it much. Google Drive, also doesn’t have an official Linux client, but a few different ones have turned up over the past years. One in particular, seems to offer the kind of use-and-feel that Dropbox offers, and is called Insync.


Recently out of beta, Insync is a Dropbox-like interface to Google Drive. It will sync the contents of your Google Drive to a local folder on disk, and keep it in sync. It also supports Google Docs documents, and syncing of objects that have been shared with you.


The installation basically consists of downloading a .deb file (or .rpm, if you’re so inclined), and installing it. The installation process didn’t work as expected for me, as I could not start Insync after installation. I figured it had something to do with the Insync Beta client I already had installed. After a quick purging of all related packages and files, and reinstalling it, the process seemed to go better. One quirk, is that the setup will suddenly open a Terminal that asks for your sudo password. This is (I assume) to add the Insync apt repo, but the way it’s presented is quite jarring. They should’ve made a more user friendly interface for this, or at least announce that the setup will open a terminal and ask for your password. Regardless, the package was installed in minutes, and the client can be started after that.

First run

The first run consists of a small wizard that asks you to login to your Google account, and grant rights to Insync. After that, there is an option to specify what local directory Insync should sync into. There also was an option to automatically convert Google Docs files. After all that, Insync will start syncing.

Using it

Using Insync is quite simple, and if you’re used to Dropbox, it should really raise any questions. There is an option to sync Google Documents that have been shared with you. You can enable this from the context menu per shared document, but after selecting it, the option disappears from the menu. It took me quite a bit to figure out how to unsync this document, but apparently, you can use the selective sync options on your Google Drive settings page in Insync. Just check and uncheck all files and documents you want synced.


For now, Insync does what I expect from a Cloud Storage syncing tool. If you want to try it, you can download it from their website.