Google Drive

Access, organize and share all your files from any device, anywhere


Where do I find Google's own information about Google Drive?

Details are on Google's G Suite Learning Center here.

How much space do I have on my Google Drive?

Compared to Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, your Google Drive limit is much larger... 30G.

What are Shared Drives (formerly Team Drives)?

Shared Drives are a feature of Google Drive (March 2017) that overcomes two problems users often run into when using Google Drive collaboration in the traditional way:

  • When people who have shared Google Drive content leave the organization, their files disappear unless they or the SIL Google Admin team have transferred ownership of that content to someone else
  • When people move content to other folders or even delete content (move files to the trash, those files are rearranged for everyone.

Shared Drives provide a place to put files owned by the team (not the individual), so that when a person leaves, any files they've placed on a Shared Drive remain. It also allows the Shared Drive administrators to control who may move or delete files, so files remain in expected locations.

You will see an area labeled Shared Drives in your Google Drive (online only). You can create more than one Shared Drive.

For more information on Shared Drives, refer to details on the G Suite Learning Center or Google's Managing Shared Drives.

What are Google's Shared Drives best practices?

Google provides recommended best practices in their G Suite Learning Center, including very good discussions of moving files/folders and setting permissions.

  • When to use Shared Drives
  • Move files to a Shared Drive
  • Manage Team Shared files
  • Share Shared Drive files

Our own comments and best practices:

  • Use Shared Drives to share material intended for public view with others. Keep personal files and folders that others shouldn't see in My Drive.
  • For improved collaboration, create a Shared Drive for each project and assign the highest access level to all team members.
  • For users who need to move large amounts of their content from their My Drive to Shared Drives, contact SIL Google Admin for help.
  • Members of a Shared Drive have access to everything in that Shared Drive. Access to sub-folders cannot be restricted.
  • You can only move files to a Shared Drive that you own. You must ask the owner of files they own to move them to the Shared Drive (if they are a member of that Shared Drive).
  • Individual files within a Shared Drive can be shared directly with non-Shared Drive members. When this happens, the file will appear in their "Shared with me". They will not be able to choose "Add to My Drive" or add that file to another Shared Drive.

What are the limits for Shared Drives?

  • A Shared Drive can contain a maximum of 400,000 files and folders.
  • You can upload up to 750 gigabytes of files a day per Google Drive account. The same quotas/limits apply to Shared Drive uploads.
  • A single Shared Drive can nest up to 20 subfolders, but Google doesn’t recommended creating Shared Drives with a folder structure that complex.

Visit Google's Help Center Article on Shared drive limits for the entire details

For known issues with Shared Drives, visit here.

What is Drive File Stream?

Launched to early adopters in March, Drive File Stream is a new desktop application that allows you quickly access all of your Google Drive files on demand, directly from your computer, meaning you use almost none of your hard drive space and spend less time waiting for files to sync and minimize the amount of company data stored on your hard drives if the device is stolen.

You can also make Drive files available for offline access. These cached files sync back to the cloud when you're online, so the latest version is available on all your devices.


  • Stream files on demand
  • Access files in My Drive
  • Access files in Shared Drives
  • If you have more than one account, easily switch and use a different account
  • Sync only selected folders in My Drive
  • Sync only individual files in My Drive
  • Use native applications like MS Word and Photoshop

Click here for Google’s overview of Drive File Stream. Click here to view a 90 second demo of Drive File Stream on YouTube though there’s not much covered.

Click here to download Drive File Stream. The download link for Drive File Stream should also appear in the Drive interface.

System requirements are Windows 7 and up and Mac 10.11 and up.

Be aware that Google Drive for Mac/PC was officially deprecated and is longer be supported (March 12, 2018.)

Installing Drive File Stream

If, however unlikely, the discontinued Drive for PC/Mac is installed, follow this process.


  • The Gear icon for Google Drive shows “Download Drive File Stream” which links to Google's download page.
  • Open Drive File Stream menu by clicking Icon on System tray (right of taskbar in Windows)
  • Google Drive File Stream appears as a separate drive (e.g. G:) in Windows Explorer
  • To sync folders, right-click on folder name (My Drive or a Shared Drive), then choose Drive File Stream and Available offline

What is Backup and Sync?

Backup and Sync, like Drive File Stream, is a program that is installed on a computer but, in addition to syncing files to your Google Drive, provides some backup capability. In some ways it is a replacement for the (now retired) Google Drive for Mac/PC program and has features similar to Drive File Stream.

SIL Google Admin prefers users use Drive File Stream. We do not use Backup and Sync and can only point users to Google's documentation if you were to have questions or problems with this.

Other Google Drive resources