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Google Drive

Google Drive is part of the Google Workspace service. It gives each member of the University free, unlimited cloud-based file storage that has an individual file size limit of 5TB. Google Shared Drives allow for team-based collaboration on files and can ensure that access to files owned by a team are not lost as team members come and go.

How does it compare with One Drive and Dropbox?

For a full comparison with other cloud storage services offered at Cambridge check the file storage comparison matrix.

Google Drive desktop application

Google Drive offers two types of desktop client: Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream.

  1. Backup and Sync syncs and stores Drive content locally on your computer. This option is useful if you often need access to all of your files and don't always have have an internet connection.

  2. Drive File Stream streams all files and folders from the cloud. It makes your Google Drive files and folders appear as a drive on your Windows PC or Mac. This allows you to view and organise your files in your computer's file system and open files with applications installed on your computer. Drive File Stream also makes all your Shared Drives appear as a drive. This option is useful if you have a large amount of data shared in a Shared Drive but don't need access to all of it at any time.

Google provides an online comparison of the clients.

Set-up instructions

Set-up instructions for Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream (Windows and Mac)

Drive File Stream and Linux: Drive File Stream doesn't provide a Linux client, although there are ways to mount Google Drive on Linux with tools such as Ocamlfuse, OverGrive, Gnome or InSync.

Google Shared Drives (Team Drives)

Google Shared Drives are a great way to store, search, and access files with a team. Files within a Shared Drive belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay in place so your team can keep working on them.

Uploading video and audio files to Google Drive

You can store and stream video and audio files from Google Drive. You can drag and drop files into https://drive.google.com from your desktop or use the New > File Upload menu option. 

Google permits upload of files up to 5TB, or the maximum free space of Google drive storage available to your account. Google lists the currently supported formats, which may change from time to time.

Bulk uploads

Google provides API access that can be used to manage bulk uploads to Google Drive. This API includes methods to upload files and metadata, create and populate folders, share files and folders.

Data security in the Google cloud

 

NOTE: Although Google offers a ISO 27001 secure storage platform that offers compliance with GDPR via Privacy-Shield certification, as outlined in this agreement, data is not guaranteed to be stored within the UK or Europe. Any data, therefore, that needs to be stored within UK or the EU should NOT be shared or stored via G Suite. Unlike public Google accounts, the Data Controller for G Suite@Cambridge accounts is the University.

For information on what data should be stored within G Suite@Cambridge see:

Google Data Security Guidance

  

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