Google Shared Drives FAQ

What is Google Shared Drive?

Google Shared Drives are shared spaces where groups of people can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device. Shared Drive is ideal for groups of colleagues who often collaborate on documents together, such as workgroups, committees,  or project teams.  All team members can share in the responsibility of organizing and maintaining the files. Team members can be added or removed from the Shared Drive at any time.  When a team member is removed from the group, all of the files remain in the Shared Drive so that the team can continue to share information and complete the necessary work. (Thanks to Stanford University for some of this content.)

Google Shared Drives have unlimited storage capacity and can be accessed by installing Google Drive for Desktop or by going to Google Drive in a browser. Google Drive is accessible on most devices including iOS and Android. The only requirement needed to access Google Drive from on or off campus is an Internet connection.  

  Shared Drive
Easily accessible on Windows/PC X
Easily accessible on Mac X
Department or Project owner(s) can add or remove contributers  X
Use native apps like Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.) X
Unlimited Storage X
See who's editing with real-time presence in Microsoft Office X
Multiple people can edit a document at once X
Easily accessible on a tablet and mobile device X

How do you access Google Shared Drive?

The easiest way to access the Google Shared Drive is by downloading Google Drive for Desktop. With Google Drive for Desktop, you can quickly sync local files on your hard drive to Google Drive/Google Shared Drive and easily access all the files that are located on Google Shared Drive. Users can also access Google Shared Drives by going to bmail/Google Drive. 

For Windows users (if you install Google Drive for Desktop), it's as easy as going from the R: drive to the G: drive to access and upload files. 

For Mac users (if you install Google Drive for Desktop), its as easy as clicking on a desktop icon to access and upload files. 

What is a centrally managed Shared Drive?

A centrally managed shared drive is one that is created by L&IT for a department.  Access to the shared drive is automatically updated when someone is hired, leaves the university, or changes departments.  This is determined by one’s “job department” as listed in Workday.  

In addition, L&IT can add specific individuals who have a different job department in Workday, but need to have access to another department’s shared drive.  For example, an academic assistant can be added to all the shared drives for departments they are responsible for.  While members of the shared drive cannot add additional members to the entire drive, they can share individual items (documents or folders) with others.  L&IT does recommend that this be done very carefully, to avoid sharing things that were meant to be kept within the department.

Everyone who has access to a centrally managed shared drive has “content manager” permissions.  This means that everyone can add new documents, as well as view, edit or delete existing documents.

Anyone who has a need that does not fit within the parameters of the centrally managed shared drives can request a custom shared drive.  Whoever requests the custom shared drive will be automatically made a manager of that drive and can determine who, and with what permissions, needs access to the drive.  This includes adding additional managers.

Can I still use Microsoft Office or do I have to use Google Docs, Sheets, etc.?

Yes, you can still use Microsoft Office products to edit your files on Google Shared Drive. If you open a file previously saved as Microsoft Office using the web browser it may ask you if you want to convert it to Google Docs, Sheets, etc. and you may do so if you feel comfortable. Opening your documents using Google Files Stream will not prompt to convert to Google Docs but rather open in Microsoft Office. 

How do I install Google Drive for Desktop?

To install Google Drive for Desktop on Windows and Mac, go to "What is Google Drive for Desktop and how do I use it?" Ask L&IT article. 

How do I request a Shared Drive?

To request a Google Shared Drive for your Department or Project Team, go to Shared Drive Request Form.

Additional Resources

Shared Drives vs. Netspace Comparison

What is Google Drive for Desktop and how do I use it?




Article ID: 482
Thu 10/8/20 10:52 AM
Tue 11/16/21 12:13 PM