Shared Drives – formerly called Team Drives provide a separate space on the Google Drive screen for content that is all shared with at least one other person. Teams can be as small as two, or as large as 50,000 people. It is worth knowing that:

  • Members of a shared drive share ownership of any files and folders.
  • If someone leaves the shared drive, any files they added will stay.
  • You can still share files with a link or invite.

When you create a Shared Drive, you are automatically the manager. As you add people to the Shared Drive, you have control over what they can and cannot do inside that drive.

  • Manager: Can manage members, and upload, edit, move, or delete all files.
  • Content manager: By default, can upload, edit, move, or delete all files.
  • Contributor: Edit all files and upload new files, but can’t move or delete files.
  • Commenter: Can only comment on all files.
  • Viewer: Can only view all files.

The permissions that you set for your Shared Drive members will apply to every document in the shared drive. So, if you have a Shared Drive for your entire staff where you store documents that they all can edit (staff meeting agendas, for instance), then you must give them editing permissions (Contributor, Content manager or Manager). If somewhere down the road you want to put something in the shared drive that they cannot edit (supervision schedule, for instance), then you need to either create a second shared drive with more secured roles for the people you are sharing with, or you should just share that file the “old fashioned way” of clicking the share button on the document itself and give read-only access. 

Shared Drives are a great way to share large amounts of data; but they aren’t necessarily the best solution for every application.