General Google Drive questionsWhat is Google Drive and how is it different from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides?
Google Docs refers to the editor for Google documents. Similarly, Google Sheets refers to the spreadsheets editor, and Google Slides refers to the presentations editor. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, along with Drawings and Forms, are online documents that live in the cloud and provide real-time collaboration features. Note that the term "Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides" is sometimes used to refer to all the Google online document editors, including Drawings and Forms. (The term "Google Docs" also previously referred to all the editors; you might still find that to be the case in some situations, but that usage is being phased out.)
Google Drive is the place to access all your files, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms, as well as local files that you sync to the cloud. If you used Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides prior to April, 2012, Google Drive replaces and enhances what you've previously known as the Google Documents List.
With Google Drive, your data is always backed up on the web, so no matter what happens to your devices, your files are safe. You get the same business-grade data protection and security advantages that you get with Google Apps, as described in Google Apps security and privacy.
You can also keep the service and disable only the Google Drive for Mac/PC sync client in your domain. First, do one of the following to find the Drive settings page:
- In the classic Admin panel, click Settings > Drive.
- In the new Admin panel, click Google Apps > Drive > General.
Where is it? Which Admin panel do I have?
On the Drive settings page, click General and select Do not allow Google Drive for Mac/PC in your organization. However, note that doing this will not keep users from downloading their files from Google Drive on the web.
Similarly, you can keep the service but disable the ability for users to open their files in web apps from the Chrome Web Store. On the Drive settings page, click General and deselect Allow users to install Google Drive apps.
All your non-Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files in your local Google Drive folder, (such as PDFs, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets), are always accessible when you’re offline. To see your cloud-based Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides when you’re offline, you can enable Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides offline for Chrome browser users.
On Android devices, files you mark available offline will be available even when you don’t have a wifi or cellular connection.
Google Drive supports SSO (Single Sign-On). Once SSO users install Google Drive for Mac/PC and try to authenticate with Google Apps, Google Drive will redirect users to enter their SSO password online. After this, no special steps are required to use Google Drive.
Yes, 2-step verification is supported with Google Drive.
No, users will need to use an application-specific password to configure the application.
Google Drive sync questionsHow do I sync files using Google Drive?
When you install the Google Drive for Mac/PC sync client, it creates a folder on your computer named Google Drive. Anything you put in this folder is synchronized with Google Drive on the web, and also becomes available on all your Google Drive devices.
Google Drive provides bi-directional sync. Changes you make online are reflected on all your devices, and vice-versa.
If you choose not to install the sync client, Google Drive on the web is the place to access your Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, plus any files you manually upload to Google Docs. You can also still access your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and uploaded files via mobile apps.
Google Drive for Mac/PC supports only HFS+ (on OS X) and NTFS (on Windows). There is currently no support for network volumes (e.g. SMB or NFS) or other file systems such as FAT32.
Synced Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are stored on your computer as files that are essentially pointers to the web documents. These small "pointer files" have Google extensions (such as .gdoc, .gsheet, and .gslides), and do not count toward your storage quota. If you open these files on your computer, the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides open up in your default web browser, where you can edit them online as usual.
To open Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides when you're offline, enable Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides offline for Chrome browser users.
Files will remain in your Google Drive folder on your computer, and a synced copy is also stored online. The exception is Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which are just pointers on your computer to the web resources, as described above.
Your non-Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files still exist on your computer, as usual. Future changes to the files will no longer sync, because your computer won't be able to authenticate with Google Drive.
However, because Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files are just pointers to web resources, a valid user name and password will be required to access them.
Google Drive for Mac/PC currently does not throttle bandwidth, so it might consume the bulk of your Internet connection at times. If this becomes an issue, you can select Pause from the Google Drive for Mac/PC menu at any time to pause the sync.
Multiple revisions of a file are available online, but only the latest version is available on your computer. The online revisions are not counted toward your storage quota unless you’ve explicitly decided to keep older revisions.
No, files that have been shared with you never count toward your storage limit, even if you move them to My Drive and sync them. (Files you sync do take up space on your hard drive.)
Google Drive downloads the file in each location on your local machine, but only one version counts against your storage quota.
Storage plan questionsWhat are the Google Drive storage limits?
Each user gets 30 GB free storage (15 GB for Google Apps free edition, a legacy product) and additional storage can be purchased. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides do not count toward storage quotas. This storage is available for Google Drive, Gmail, and Picasa Web Albums.
The maximum individual file size that can be synced in Google Drive is 10 GB for files that aren't converted to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. (Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have different size limits.)
Google Drive storage is for users and Google Cloud Storage is for developers.
You can sync all items in your Google Drive on the web or, if you don't have sufficient storage on your computer, you can choose to sync only a subset of folders in your Google Drive. See Choose what syncs to your computer to learn more.
The user can still access any files already in Google Drive, but they'll receive a warning and won't be able to add additional files until they are under quota or have their quota increased.
The user will still be able to access his or her files, but won't be able to add any additional files.