[Updated] Google Drive for Desktop issue with macOS Spotlight & Windows search (local indexing) comes to light, workaround inside

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on October 19, 2021) follows:

Google Drive for Desktop, the unified solution for file synchronization and cloud storage, seems to have lost its local indexing features on Windows and Mac.

Several reports are indicating that, after updating the client, their computers stopped indexing the files synchronized between the cloud and the PC. This was possible with the previous version.

As expected, this generated complaints (1, 2) among those who have had no similar issues with the previous Backup & Sync tool.

With the previous client, users simply used the local search (Windows or macOS) to directly access their files stored in Google Drive. This was possible because the synced files were physically on the hard drive.


Now, with the new Google Drive for Desktop, the synced files are part of a network drive but the option to index its contents is not available. As a result, users have lost the ability to search local files.

There’s a workaround, but not everyone will like it

For those who were hoping this was a bug to be solved, there is bad news. Apparently, this is the behavior expected by Google for its new Drive for Desktop client.

In one of the reports, Google’s product expert said there is no way to index streamed content. Rather, he offered a workaround.

The workaround consists of copying or moving the folders out of the stream to another location. Then, use Sync preferences in Folders from the computer. This complicates a process that was simpler before.


The product expert invites those affected to send their feedback to Google to make them aware of the dissatisfaction this change has caused.

We don’t know if this will change in the future. After all, the software was designed like this, but if more reports can be captured from affected users, maybe Google might do something about it.

What is Google Drive for Desktop?

As mentioned earlier, the latest version of Google Drive for Desktop is a unified tool. This means it integrates the functionality of two previous clients: Backup & Sync and Drive File Stream (also known as Drive for Desktop).

With this new tool, Google intended to make it easier to use, eliminating the confusion of having two similar clients to sync files with Drive.

However, as we have seen, a feature that many users considered essential has been lost. It remains to be seen if the company decides to restore the functionality of the previous client.

Update 1 (January 18)

04:57 pm (IST): If you are still having this issue, then here’s a potential workaround that one of the affected users suggested. So, try it out and see if it helps.

– In finder, go to… Library/Application Support/Google.
– If you DONT see a folder named “DriveFS” then create one.
– Once created, launch Google Drive and it is supposed to work! (Source)

Update 2 (May 20)

05:17 pm (IST): It seems that the Google Drive for Desktop issue with macOS Spotlight and Windows search still persists as fresh user reports are still coming in.

Article by Jean Leon

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