I like all that youve said, but I still have the following problem:
Ive created testfile.txt on my laptop and moved it to the Google Drive folder. After a second or two it syncs, and so I go on my phone and there it is. All good so far. However, if I delete the file on my phone, it also disappears from the google drive on my computer. This is as youd expect as theyre synced, but its not what I want (and seems as though there is only one copy of it - on Googles servers - not as you suggest a local and a cloud copy). My worry is that if my google account gets hacked/deleted, phone gets lost/stolen, or google themselves get hacked, all my eggs are in their basket. Im after a duplicate copy of my files on google drive so I have my main storage safe and sound on my laptop, and then a backup copy on the drive (and, as you mention, another method a couple of times a year).
If syncing was set up, then the file was local on your computer. To see this, if the computer is disconnected from the Internet, then the file will still be accessible and able to be opened and edited if it is local. If it is not local, then you will not be able to access the file if you do not Internet access.
The issue is that syncing will sync all changes to the file. Deleting a file is making a change to the file. So, while the file was locally stored, when you deleted it from the phone, the Google Drive app sent the "signal" to the Google Servers that the file had been deleted. This caused the Google servers to delete the file from the server AND send a signal to the Google Drive client on your computer to also delete the local version of the file on the computer. So, the file was still local, but syncing process then caused that local copy on the computer to be deleted when you deleted on the phone. More that likely you will find a copy of the file in the Recycle Bin (depending on how the Google Drive client actually deletes it...if it is using the file system of Windows, then it should be there...if it is using some direct programming option, then it may not).
This same thing would happen if you opened the file on your phone and edited. The edited version would then be "uploaded" to the server (technically, on a phone, you are likely in essence editing the cloud version as more than likely the files are NOT stored locally on the phone unless you specifically tell the Google Drive app to keep a local/offline version for use when you don't have an Internet connection) and then downloaded from the server to your computer.
Now, I will note that you should be able to log into your Google Drive account through the web browser and recover that file that you deleted. I can do this with Dropbox. It is called versioning and I am pretty sure that Google Drive offers it as well. So, for those occasions where to mistakenly/accidentally delete a file and the deletion propagates to all your devices, you should be able to recover it from the Google Drive web interface.
This is what syncing does. And this is basically how all the "big name" cloud services (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive) work when using the "automated process". You can bypass this approach with these services, but it typically requires you to do it manually along the lines of what RolandJS
You should be able to do what you want with Google Drive, but it will require a third party backup program that will copy/duplicate files (NOT SYNC) in their native file format (not some backup file format) from one location to another and can be set up to do that on a schedule. In Google Drive's eyes you are still "manually" doing it, but you are using another program to automate it. The only program that I know that I am 97.342% (like that percentage?
) sure can do that is a program called Retrospect, which is not cheap. The only reason I am not completely sure is that I have only set it up to duplicate from one drive to another, so I am not 100% sure you can duplicate to the same drive. I am sure that you can find other programs that will do that as well, but I am not directly familiar with any other options.
To be honest, what you seem to potentially be after is more of a cloud backup service (as opposed to a cloud syncing service). Some thing like CrashPlan or Carbonite. Here is a list of options:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2288745,00.asp
These will backup on a regular basis your files to their servers, leaving the originals on the computer. Generally, you can then still access specific files from their website to download to other computers, but you would then need to copy that file to the main computer to have the backup copy then updated.
As to worrying about hackers, it depends on what you worry about. If you worry about them accessing your files, then frankly the best answer is to not use a cloud service for any critical/sensitive files that you don't want any chance of hackers to see. If you are worried about hackers deleting your files (or the cloud service corrupting/losing your files or going out of business [it has happened]), then that is the reason why I say you still need to do a local backup. If you are really worried about that, then do the local backup (or multiple backups) more frequently (maybe weekly or even daily). Personally, I don't store sensitive files on cloud services and I do local backups on a regular basis.