Introducing Grive

Google Drive and Privacy

Google's biggest problem with the Google Drive privacy policy is that there isn't actually a specific Google Drive privacy policy—there's just Google's new unified term of service and privacy policy. Google states, "You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours."

That means Google can't use your content for commercial purposes without your consent. However, the term of service also states:

You give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.

For content that is yours, Google can't re-use it for its own purposes, but it can use content you upload in order to serve you. This can include integrating services together (like reading your scanned pictures in order to OCR them), and it can include analyzing your files to target advertisements to you. Google already does this in Gmail.

Google doesn't currently serve ads in Google Docs (now called Google Drive), but it may, according to its license agreement, use data about the content you upload to target ads to you anywhere on the service.

Google also may give up your data in response to a legal demand, like a subpoena. If you want your cloud storage to be a little more out of touch, you might be interested in Wuala, which has no storage servers in the United States. Or, you might just want to keep your data off the Internet.

Google Drive and Security

Google Drive encrypts data between your computer and the Google servers. If you're using your Google Drive over the Web, the connection defaults to secure (HTTPS), and when you use the software that makes your Google Drive appear on your computer like a local hard drive, the data between your computer and Google is likewise encrypted. No casual hacker will be able to grab your files by monitoring or intercepting your Internet connection to Google. Your data also is stored under lock and key at Google itself, but it is not encrypted on the Google servers. You will have to encrypt your own files ahead of time. A Google rep explained why: encrypting files stored at Google would prevent you from previewing them on the Web, and it also would prevent services like Google Goggles and its OCR engine from accessing files on your behalf. (I presume it also would prevent Google's ad-serving algorithms from scanning your data to serve you more targeted messages, and this is how Google makes its money.)

Linux Installation

If you install the Google Drive client app for your Windows or Mac PC, you can sync all your on-line Google Docs to your computer. You can be selective with your syncing—sync Google Docs, all of My Drive or individual folders, and items in Shared with me.

But for all the celebration, there is something missing: a Linux client. The Google Drive client is not yet available for Linux, and the old Google Docs FS does not work too well with Google Drive, so besides the Web interface, the best solution for getting Google Drive on Linux right now is using Grive, an unofficial, open-source, command-line Linux client for Google Drive. Grive has been put together by a third-party developer, and it looks quite nice. Thanks Google for making Drive an open platform.

The purpose of Grive Project is to provide an independent implementation of the Google Drive client. It uses the Google Document List API to talk to Google's servers. The code is written in standard C++.

As of version 0.2.0, Grive can do two-sided synchronization between Google Drive and the local directory. It can download and upload changed files. New directories in Google Drive and the local directory also can be downloaded/uploaded. It cannot yet do the following:

  • Wait for changes in the filesystem to occur and upload the files afterward. Sync is performed only when you run Grive.

  • Symbolic link support.

  • Sync all files/folders with multiple parents and download Google Documents.

  • Support for files >2GB.

Those things will be added in the future, possibly during the next release.

At the time of this writing, you easily can install Grive in Ubuntu 11.10 or later using the following commands:

system :~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
system :~$ sudo apt-get update
system :~$ sudo apt-get install grive

On other Linux distributions, the installation is a little involved, as a Grive package is not yet available. You can compile it from source.


Sayyed Mehdi Poustchi Amin is currently a PhD research student in computer science at SIU. His research is focused on developing honeypot decoys for analysis of Internet attacks. His professional certifications include CCNA, MCTS, MCITP and MCSE.


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لقد تم استخدام محرر مستندات جوجل / محرك لعدة سنوات.

Clipping Path's picture

لقد تم استخدام محرر مستندات جوجل / محرك لعدة سنوات.

قرأت عن مادتين في اليوم الواحد يمكن أن يوحي تعطيل ميزة SELinux إذا أريد تثبيت هذا، أو ذلك.

Reply to comment | Linux Journal

Leather Sofas's picture

Article writing is also a fun, if you be familiar
with then you can write otherwise it is complicated to write.

what's the difference of

Dzak's picture

what's the difference of other online storage services? it depends on every user and what interface likes.
i ll give a try on this...

Grive & Google Docs

Don Desjardin's picture

Yes, the basic sync function works like DropBox. I can put a file in the Grive folder, run "grive", and it shows up in the cloud.

The only problem I see (and it's a big one) is that Grive doesn't pull/sync any of the docs created by Google Docs.

ایول داره. زنده باشی. این تو

AliAli's picture

ایول داره.
زنده باشی.

این تو ایرانم کار میکنه؟


salder's picture

Ditto all of the SELinux comments.

Use Insync instead

Anonymous's picture

I've been using Google Docs/Drive for several years. Following the switch to "Drive", I didn't care much for the interface of their syncing program and found a great alternative: Insync. I currently have it running on Win7, Mac OS X, Linux Mint and Ubuntu 10.04. Works great, check it out at:


Colin's picture

Ok article. Although I would like to know about who else is putting out Gdrive services.

On SELINUX. You should never DISABLE it.


Will keep the SELINUX configuration and file permissions in place but it will only chuck out warning messages. If you set SELINUX to disabled then you are killing off your opportunity to enable it in the future.

SELinux is good for you

Gergely Polonkai's picture

I read about two articles per day that suggests disabling SELinux if I want to install this-or-that. I think it's a very bad practice. SELinux is good for you. It's not a coincidence that more and more vendors enable it by default. Please stop giving such bad advices already!

The article is a great showcase of Drive and Grive in general otherwise. Keep up the good work!