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Sync directories between your computer and Google Drive

Project description

Synchronize directories between Google Drive and your local machine. You can choose to synchronize only selected directories as opposed to other tools where you need to keep all files on your Google Drive in the same directory on your local computer in order for the synchronization to work.

The intended use is to backup directories from multiple locations on your own machine, each to its own separate directory on Google Drive.

How it works

The gdrive_sync program will first download all changes that have happened on your Drive since it was first created. The first synchronization will take equally long if you have one file with 1000 separate changes or 1000 files you have uploaded and not changed afterwards.

After the initial download of your change history gdrive_sync only needs to download the changes that have occurred since the last time you used the program. This is normally very fast.

After downloading the change history you can get a list of differences between your backup on Google Drive and your local files. You can sync-up to upload whatever changes you have made and new files added.

There is no sync-down functionality at the moment since the author of this program has not needed that yet. It may be implemented later. Feel free to submit a patch / pull request if you are tired of waiting for some easy-to-implement feature and decide to write it yourself.


The gdrive_sync program and underlying libraries are written in Python. The program is tested on Python 2.7.3 on Ubuntu Linux and Python 2.7.2 on Windows 7. The code is written so that it should work on Mac OS also, but this has not been tested. Compatibility with Python 2.6 has not been tested, it probably works with a few “from __future__ import …” statements.

You can use the normal Python package managers, for example the pip tool, to install the program. You do not need root or administrator access if you install inside a Python virtualenv.

pip install gdrive_sync

You can run either the supplied gdrive_sync executable script or run the Python package directly from a Python executable that has gdrive_sync on the import path:

# or
python -m gdrive_sync


First time you first need to update the local database with all changes to your Drive up to now:

gdrive_sync update

You can then for example sync your pictures to the Pictures directory on Google Drive with your picture collection on /media/my_disk/Images. First see differences between the local and remote directory:

gdrive_sync diff Pictures /media/my_disk/Images

The gdrive_sync command always expects the Google Drive directory name first and then the local directory as argument number two. You can skip both, the default is to synchronize the whole of your Drive (“/”) with the local directory (“.”):

cd Drive
gdrive_sync diff
gdrive_sync sync-up

And now you also know how to upload any changes :-)

The sync-up command will always run update, then diff before it asks you if you would like to continue. You can continue automatically with the -y switch to sync-up and you must explicitly allow deleting (putting in Google Drive trash) files or folders with the -x switch. You can “dry-run” without actually doing anything to the remote Drive with the -d switch.


  1. The program assumes that your Drive is a DAG (directed acyclic graph), where each file and directory is present in one and only one directory. This is normally the case.

  2. The program can currently only upload (sync-up), not download (sync-down). (1)

  3. The program is tested briefly and appears to work, but it might eat your files and I take no responsibility for that. That being said it is just the sync-up command that actually changes anything on your drive, the other commands are read-only. The diff command does not even connect to Google Drive at all. No files will ever be deleted (just put in trash), but files will be overwritten if the program detects that the file has changed.

1: If I ever have use for that functionality I will implement it. It should be quite simple.


Development happens at There is only one main development branch and no stable branch. For the code style PEP8 is followed, except for the strict 80 characters line length requirement.

Feel free to submit patches / pull requests as long as you feel comfortable with licensing your code under the same three licenses as gdrive_sync (see License below). Simple five line fixes to make the code run on Python 2.6 are appreciated, huge changes to make it run on Python 2.3 are perhaps less so. I will seriously consider support for Python 3.3 if it is not very invasive.

Version history

2013-03-21 - version 0.5

Initial semi-working release

  • Can download list of changes and store the current state of the Google Drive

  • Can find differences between local and remote Drive

  • Can upload any missing files to the remote Drive

  • Can delete (put in trash) files or folders on the remote drive

The program will still output some debug trash on the command line and will crash with a stack traces every so often. I still use it for my backup, so it kind of works… YMMV


The code is copyright 2013 Tormod Landet and is released under the BSD (3 clause)/Python (PSFL)/GPL (2+) license

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