File syncing can be complicated, especially when multiple people are accessing the file, or if a file is being edited in two different locations separately. The computer or cloud service often won’t know what changes should be preserved in the official file, so it will create duplicates which can be messy. It’s also possible to lose changes when the file is synced, or a collaborator could delete something you want to get back. Google Drive is one cloud service that makes this easier to manage with ‘file versioning.’
Instead of making duplicate files every time, Google keeps track of each revision to the file. It even helps to keep track of revisions made in another location, such as your local drive. To see the other file versions, select a file in Google Drive by clicking the checkbox next to the file name. Then click to expand the “More” dropdown menu, and click “Manage revisions.” You can also get to this by opening up the file, and clicking on “Manage revisions” from the “File” dropdown menu. You’ll have options to upload a new version from your computer, delete old versions, restore an earlier version, or download a version to your computer.
For more information on how Google Drive manages file versions, check out this support document on support.google.com.