Google Shared Drives (Team Drives) Comparison with Shared Accounts in Google My Drive and Box

U-M Google shared drives (formerly known as Team Drives), My Drive, and U-M Box are great for maintaining a shared document repository. However, there are important differences in how they each work. See below for tables that outline how the three compare.

Tip If you’re unsure of what account type(s) are best for you or your team, you can contact the ITS Service Center for guidance.  

Comparison Table

  Google Shared Drives Google My Drive with Shared Account Box with Shared Account
Who owns files and folders? The team (collaborators in the shared drive).

New content: The Shared Account.

Other My Drive content: The Author (Individual who created file or folder).

New content: The Shared Account.

Other Box content: The folder owner, usually the Shared Account.

Can I use a group as a collaborator/team member?

Yes.

MCommunity groups sync, external email addresses do not.

Yes.

MCommunity groups sync, external email addresses do not.

Yes.

MCommunity groups sync at the root level, subgroups must be added separately. External email addresses do not sync.

Can I share my files with external collaborators?

Yes.

External members may be added to either the entire shared drive or specific files in the shared drive. Within the settings, the ability to share outside of the University of Michigan must be turned ON.

Yes.

External members may be added to files and folders in a shared account's My Drive.

Yes.

External members may be added to files and folders as long as link sharing is enabled and you share to an individual (not a person as part of an MCommunity group).

Who can transfer ownership?

Members with the Manager or Content Manager role can move files and folders to their My Drive, making them the new owner. They can also move files to another shared drive, making that team the new owner. Only the Shared Account (if it is an owner) can transfer ownership by giving up ownership. Only the Shared Account (if it is an owner) can transfer ownership by giving up ownership.
Can I store Protected Health Data (PHI/HIPAA)?

No.

Guidelines for Google My Drive also apply to data stored in shared drives. 

No. Yes.
Can I add collaborators to folders?

Top-level (root) Folder: Yes (if you have the Manager role), by making them team members.

Sub-folders: No, roles and permissions are inherited by shared drive membership and cannot be set at the folder level.

Yes, if you have Edit access.

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

Yes, if you have Editor or Co-Owner access.
Can I add collaborators to files? Yes, if you have the Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor role. Yes, if you have Edit access. Yes, if you have Editor or Co-Owner access.
Where do shared files and folders appear?

Team members: The root folder appears in shared drives, sub-folders and files are found inside the shared drive.

Additional collaborators: Shared with me (cannot be moved into My Drive).

Shared Account Members: Shared with me, and My Drive within folders.

Additional Collaborators: Shared with me - they can move it anywhere in My Drive without impacting the file or folder location for others.

Shared Account Members: All files.

Additional Collaborators: All files.

Can I restore files?

Yes, if you have the Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor role.

Yes, if you created the file.

Yes, if you are the Owner or the user who deleted the file/folder.

How long are files saved in the trash?

Each shared drive has its own trash. All files/folders in trash are deleted permanently after 30 days.

Files in the My Drive trash folder are not automatically deleted.

All files/folders in trash are deleted permanently after 30 days.

Can I move files?

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

From My Drive to shared drive: Yes, if you are Owner of the file and have the Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor role in the shared drive. 

File permissions individually assigned to the file are preserved, not those inherited from a folder.

Yes, if you have Edit access. Yes, if you have Editor or Co-Owner access.
Are mobile devices supported? Shared drives are supported on mobile devices, but accessibility and performance vary depending on application and OS. My Drive is supported on mobile devices. Box is supported on mobile devices.
How do I attach a file to a Google Calendar invite?

Navigate to any shared drive from within a Calendar invite. 

Navigate to any My Drive file from within a 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.
How do I set it up? Select Shared drives, under My Drive, and 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). If you are unsure, contact the ITS Service Center. Submit a Shared Account request, or contact the ITS Service Center. Submit a Shared Account request, or contact the ITS Service Center.
Last Updated: 
Thursday, May 2, 2019