Duplicate copies of pdfs on google drive (confusing)

For me, one great feature of Paperpile is the ability to store a paper in multiple folders.
This is a really flexible way of categorizing and increases the chance of finding things quickly.

However, I just realized that in doing this there is a problem when using the Google Drive sync: the pdf ends up being stored (in duplicate) in each such folder.

I propose that this should be fixed so that the pdf only appears in the first listed folder.

Why: mainly it is confusing. If we annotate one of the pdfs by opening its copy on the desktop (synced from Google Drive), then there are several copies that are now different.
What happens then?
Secondly, it wastes disk space.

This might actually be a problem with google drive sync rather than specific to Paperpile,
however it would still be good to work around it in paperpile. An approach would be to treat the first listed folder as a folder, while any other folders act like labels.

This can be done currently by making labels, but that requires one to make labels that duplicate folder names (unnecessary work), and would expand the number of choices in the left-hand folder/label column – currently the UI already does not deal well with the length of this list, especially on the android app where it is quite time consuming to repeatedly scroll through it. So in other words, if the problem cannot be fixed directly, the proposal would be to have Folders automatically act as labels as well, but refrain from displaying them in the labels list.

I think papebrain’s solution to have folders automatically act as labels is a an excellent !

When configuring GDrive sync to mimic the library’s folder structure, the original PDF is stored in the first folder assigned to the paper. In other folders, a shortcut (link) is added as can be seen in this video - the first folder is the original PDF and in others there are just shortcuts for it.

@paperbrain, @MTelch, please let us know if you have found it working differently on your end or if you have any observations to share.

Hi Vincente

The web Google Drive does work as shown in the video you mentioned. Adding the pdf to another folder results in a shortcut in the second folder.

However, this is not what I was speaking of. I realize there is a name confusion! Google has a tool to sync files from the cloud to your machine, which is necessary both to view offline and to keep a backup in case something goes wrong (e.g. conceivably to recover annotations that disappear). This tool is also called Google Drive. In this message let’s call it the “Google Drive sync tool” to be clear.

The Google Drive sync tool makes a duplicate copy of the pdf file on the local disk (a mac in my case) even when it is a shortcut (on the cloud drive). I just double checked: the file on the mac disk is not a symbolic link, nor is it a “hard link” (which can be checked with “find . -samefile <name.pdf>”).

This is a problem with the google drive sync tool, not Paperpile, but it impacts the ability to use Paperpile’s great store-in-multiple-folders feature, thus the request for a workaround. I think the workaround might be beneficial even for people who are not using the sync tool.

I wonder if this is new with the migration from google back up and sync to google drive sync engine (to differentiate the sync app from the cloud space, also google drive). I also use google’s sync app to keep a hard copy on my Mac so I can use spotlight to search for and edit PDFs, and ever since google forced the move to ‘drive’ from ‘back up and sync’ things have been less than smooth (spotlight stopped working for a while).

It is unfortunate that Pp’s architecture started completely enmeshed in google’s ecosystem. Although the decision was reasonable at the time- Now close to a decade later, google is no longer as dominant in the cloud space and a potential workaround would have been to move to a different cloud provider, if that was an option. Most recent apps will support multiple cloud providers, including OneDrive and iCloud.