Shared Document Repository Comparison (Dropbox and Google)

U-M Google shared drives (formerly Team Drives), Dropbox Team Folders, and Shared Accounts in U-M Google are great for maintaining a shared document repository. However, there are important differences in feature availability and functionality between each. Refer below for a table that outlines how the three compare.

Tip: If you’re unsure of which account type is best for you or your team, contact the ITS Service Center for guidance.

Tool Comparison Table

  U-M Dropbox Team Folders U-M Google Shared Drives U-M Google Shared Account (in My Drive)
Who owns files and folders (within the repository)? The team (i.e., the members of the MCommunity group shared at the parent level).

The team (i.e., the members with the Manager role shared at the drive level)

Any file/folder moved into the shared drive will now be owned by the team.

New content: The Shared Account

Other My Drive content: The file/folder’s owner (i.e., the individual who created the file or folder, and not the Shared Account)

Can I store Protected Health Information (PHI/HIPAA)?

Yes.

Important: Sensitive data should be stored in a Team Folder.

No.

Sensitive data guidelines for your U-M Google My Drive also apply to data stored in shared drives.

No.

Sensitive data guidelines for your U-M Google My Drive also apply to data stored in Shared Accounts.

Can I use an MCommunity group as a collaborator/member?

Yes.

MCommunity groups sync at all levels. Subgroups and external email addresses do not sync.

Note: An MCommunity group is required (and the only member allowed) at the parent level. No additional members can be added at that level. You must add a user to the MCommunity group for them to gain access at that level.

Yes.

MCommunity groups and subgroups sync at all levels. External email addresses do not.

Note: MCommunity groups cannot be assigned as Managers of the drive.

Yes.

MCommunity groups and subgroups sync at all levels. External email addresses do not.

Can I share my files and folders with external (non-UM) users?

Yes.

External users may be added to files and folders in the Team Folder, but not at the root level.

Note: You will need to add the external users individually if they are in an MCommunity group, as external users do not sync.

Yes.

External (non-UM) users may be added to the entire shared drive, specific folders, or specific files in the shared drive. Within the drive settings, the ability to share outside of the University of Michigan must be turned on.

Note: You will need to add the external users individually if they are in an MCommunity group, as external users do not sync. Additionally, external users cannot be assigned as Managers of the drive.

Yes.

External users may be added to files and folders in a Shared Account's My Drive.

Note: You will need to add the external users individually if they are in an MCommunity group, as external users do not sync.

Can I add collaborators/members to specific folders? Yes, if you have edit permissions on the subfolder.

Yes, if you have the Manager role.

Note: Everyone who is a member at the shared drive level has at least Viewer access to every file and folder within the drive.

Yes, if you have Editor access.

Collaborators might see different files in a folder, depending on their access to individual files.
 

Can I add collaborators/members to specific files? Yes, if you have edit permissions on the subfolder. Yes, if you have the Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor role. Yes, if you have Editor access.
Where do shared files and folders appear?

Members: From multiple locations - Home, All files, or Shared.

Additional collaborators: Under Shared, but you could also view them from All files.

Members: The shared drive appears under Shared drives, and subfolders and files are found inside the shared drive.

Additional collaborators: Under Shared with me. (The file or folder cannot be moved into My Drive, but a Shortcut can be created.)
 

Shared Account members: Under Shared with me and My Drive within folders.

Additional collaborators: Under Shared with me - the file/folder can be moved anywhere in My Drive without impacting the file or folder location for others.

Who can transfer ownership?

Members of the MCommunity group assigned at the parent level of the Team Folder can move files and folders between their individual U-M account and the Team Folder. This will change the ownership from the individual user to the team and vice versa. Members with the Manager or Content Manager role can move files and folders to their My Drive, making them the new owner. Only Managers can move files/folders to another shared drive, making that team the new owner. Only the Shared Account (if it is an owner) can transfer ownership to another account or shared drive at U-M.

Can I move files and folders?

Yes, if you are a member of the MCommunity group assigned at the parent level of the Team Folder or have edit permissions on a subfolder.

Within shared drives: Yes, if you have the Manager or Content Manager role in the shared drive.

From My Drive to shared drives

  • FILES: Yes, if you are the owner of the file and have the Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor role in the shared drive.
  • FOLDERS: No, this feature is not yet available.

From shared drive to shared drive: Yes, if you have the Manager role in both shared drives.

Note: Permissions individually assigned to the file pre-move are preserved but not those inherited from a folder.

Yes, if you have Editor access.

Can I restore files and folders?

Yes, if you are a member of the MCommunity group assigned at the parent level of the Team Folder. Yes, if you have the Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor role. Yes, if you are the owner of the file or folder.
How long are files and folders saved in the trash? All files/folders in Deleted files are retained indefinitely unless permanently deleted. Each shared drive has its own trash. All files/folders in the trash are deleted permanently after 30 days. All files/folders in the My Drive trash folder are deleted permanently after 30 days.
Are mobile devices supported? Yes. Yes. Yes.
How do I attach a file to a Google Calendar invite? Insert a link to the file in the event description or download the file to your computer and upload it as an attachment to the calendar invite. Navigate to any shared drive from within a calendar invite using the Add attachment (paperclip) icon. Navigate to any My Drive file from within a calendar invite using the Add attachment (paperclip) icon.

How do I set one up?

Submit a Dropbox Team Folder request.

Submit the Google shared drives creation form (via the Shared Drive Manager tool).

Submit a Shared Account request or contact the ITS Service Center.
Last Updated: 
Monday, January 9, 2023