Anyone with a Google account has a free 15 GB of cloud storage in Google Drive. Of course, additional storage is also available for the price of a subscription. The problem for Linux users is that Google has not made an official Google Drive client for Linux.

Other operating systems have an easy time syncing files with Google Drive, either as a backup or just for storage, thanks to Google supplying them with a client application. Linux users are not completely without options, though. In this guide, we're going to cover two different methods for using Google Drive on a Linux system.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to use Google Drive with GNOME
  • How to use Google Drive with KDE
Integrating Google Drive into a Linux system
Integrating Google Drive into a Linux system
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Most Linux distros with GNOME, KDE, Xfce, or MATE
Software GNOME Files/Nautilus, GNOME Online Accounts, KDE Dolphin
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Access Google Drive From GNOME Files (Nautilus)

GNOME is a really popular desktop environment included on many distributions by default, like Ubuntu. Fortunately for GNOME users, the file manager has the ability to connect with your Google account and access the files in Drive.

If your system is running KDE, check the next section below for another method of using Google Drive on Linux. If your system is running neither GNOME nor KDE, you can still use the GNOME method shown in this section (verified to work with MATE and Xfce desktop environments).

Most likely, this GNOME component should already be installed on your system (if you are indeed running GNOME). But just in case it's not, you can open a terminal and use one of the following commands to install it.

On Debian based distros, including Ubuntu:


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$ sudo apt install gnome-online-accounts

On Red Hat based distros, including Fedora and CentOS:

$ sudo dnf install gnome-online-accounts

On Arch Linux based distros, including Manjaro:

$ pacman -S gnome-online-accounts

Once it's installed, use the step by step instructions below to setup your Google account with the GNOME Online Accounts utility.

  1. First, open the GNOME settings menu for online accounts by either typing the command below or finding it in your applications launcher.
    $ gnome-control-center online-accounts
    OR FOR NON-GNOME SYSTEMS:
    $ XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=GNOME gnome-control-center
    


    Search for Online Accounts or open the utility from command line
    Search for Online Accounts or open the utility from command line
  2. Click on Google and then use your account credentials to sign in. You will have to grant GNOME permission to access your Google Drive files as well as other data, so click 'Allow' when that prompt shows up.

    Select Google to sign into Google Drive with your Google account
    Select Google to sign into Google Drive with your Google account
  3. Make sure you allow GNOME to access the files. The rest is optional and you can toggle those settings as needed.

    Make sure files are toggled on for them to synchronize
    Make sure files are toggled on for them to synchronize
  4. Once your account has been added, you'll see it on the left side of the GNOME Files utility (or Caja, Thunar, etc).



    Select your account in the files browser to access Google Drive
    Select your account in the files browser to access Google Drive
  5. You can left click on your account to have Google Drive automatically mounted and accessible.

    Your Google Drive documents will appear here
    Your Google Drive documents will appear here

That's all there is to it. You can drag and drop files and folders in or out of this area to have the changes be synchronized with Google Drive. You may also edit files directly, and the changes will instantly be sent to Drive when you save the file.

Access Google Drive From KDE

KDE is another popular desktop environment from which Google Drive can be accessed. If your system uses KDE, follow the step by step instructions below to integrate the Dolphin file browser with your Google Drive.

Before beginning, you'll need the kio-gdrive package installed on your system. Open a terminal and use one of the following commands to install it.

On Debian based distros, including Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt install kio-gdrive

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On Red Hat based distros, including Fedora and CentOS:

$ sudo dnf install kio-gdrive

On Arch Linux based distros, including Manjaro:

$ pacman -S kio-gdrive

On openSUSE based distros:

$ sudo zypper in kio-gdrive
  1. Open the Dolphin file manager and click on 'Network' on the left side.

    Access the network menu from KDE Dolphin
    Access the network menu from KDE Dolphin
  2. Next, open the Google Drive folder.

    Select Google Drive to begin connecting your account
    Select Google Drive to begin connecting your account


  3. Use your Google credentials to sign in and give KDE permission to access your Google Drive.

    Make sure file access is toggled on
    Make sure file access is toggled on

You can now access your Google Drive files any time from Dolpin. Drag and drop files to this area in order to sync with Drive, or just edit the files directly in the cloud.

Your Google drive documents will appear here
Your Google drive documents will appear here

Closing Thoughts

In this guide, we saw how to use Google Drive on a Linux system. GNOME and KDE provide support for integrating Google Drive directly with their file managers. And the GNOME online account utility can also be used across other desktop environments. This is as good of a solution as Linux users are going to get, unless Google decides to release an official client.

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