Google Shared Drives Overview

Google shared drives (formerly Team Drives) are a feature in Google Workspace for Education. They offer shared space in Google Drive where teams can create, store, search, collaborate on, and access all their team-owned files. The difference between a shared drive and My Drive is that all data (files, folders, spreadsheets, forms, and presentations) are owned by the team/group and not an individual.

More Secure Data for Your Team

Team membership changes for a variety of reasons, providing the potential for loss of team data. Because files are owned collectively by the team, no content within any shared drive folder is individually owned. This shared access makes team data more secure and consistently available to all.

Shared Drives Membership

Any U-M Google account can create a shared drive. Select Shared drives from the left sidebar in Google Drive and then click New to get started. We recommend that each Google shared drive be named with your department's Active Directory prefix or generally recognized prefix. (Example: ITS | Service Center)

When a shared drive is created, the individual who created the shared drive will be given the Manager role. (See more about permission levels in shared drives in the chart below.) That individual will then be able to add other individuals or MCommunity groups as members to the shared drive.

When individuals join or leave an MCommunity group, access to the appropriate shared drives will also be given or taken away, making MCommunity an effective way to manage shared drive membership.

Important: Although MCommunity groups sync with shared drives, external email addresses (non-@umich.edu) will not sync with the group. You will need to add external users to the shared drive individually.

By default, the Content Manager role is given to new members added to a shared drive. We recommend only giving a few people the Manager role as that is the highest possible and most access allowed in shared drives.

Action Manager Content Manager Contributor Commenter Viewer
View files and folders Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark
Comment on files Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X
Make/approve/reject edits in files Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X

Create files and folders

Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X
Share files with specific people (i.e., non-members) Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X
Share folders with specific people (i.e., non-members) Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Restore files/folders from trash (up to 30 days) Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X

Move files/folders within a shared drive

Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X
Move files/folders from one shared drive to another Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X

Move files from My Drive to a shared drive

Note: Folders cannot be moved from My Drive to a shared drive.

Green checkmark Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X
Add/remove members Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Rename shared drives Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X

Delete shared drives

Note: All files/folders must first be deleted from the shared drive.

Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Modify shared drives settings Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X
Delete files/folders Green checkmark Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X
Permanently delete files in the trash Green checkmark Red X Red X Red X Red X

Notes:

  • Requests for access to files in shared drives: Requests for access to shared drive files go only to the file creator. If the file creator is no longer a member of a shared drive, the requests will be sent to the shared drive Managers.

  • Google account needed to become a member of a shared drive: You can share files and folders with visitors without Google accounts with visitor sharing. However, to be a member of a shared drive, the invited user must have an email address associated with a Google account.

Last Updated: 
Monday, September 26, 2022