Google Drive - What It Means for U-M

posted Apr 25, 2012, 7:51 PM by Rita Girardi   [ updated Apr 27, 2012, 5:58 AM ]

Google recently announced their cloud-storage product, Google Drive. Below is some basic information about the service and what it means for the U-M Community.

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive allows you to securely upload any file or folder to the web and access the most up-to-date versions of those files from anywhere. Users can access Google Drive in their web browser and can also download the Drive application to their Mac, PC, Android or iOS devices to access files across any of these devices. Each user will have 5GB of included storage space for their Google Drive.

When Can U-M Accounts Use Drive?

While no specific date has been announced, we expect Drive to be available in late May. Google’s Scheduled Release plan states that Drive will be available as an opt-in service for U-M accounts sometime in May. The U-M Google Apps for Education domain is on the Google Scheduled Release track for new apps and features. Scheduled Releases typically occur a few weeks or months after a new product or feature is released to domains on Rapid Release (such as consumer Google accounts). For detailed information about the release, see Google Drive transition notes.

You also can continue to use Offline Docs functionality. Offline Docs allows you to view Google documents and spreadsheets even when you don't have an Internet connection. Offline Docs does not sync files you upload to your Google Docs storage. For more information on Offline Docs, see the About Google Docs offline support page.

What’s Changed for U-M?

The immediate change is an increase to your Google Docs storage to 5GB; previously, the limit had been 1GB. This limit is for items you upload to Google Docs but don’t convert to native Google Docs format. Docs you create in Google Docs (such as Documents and Spreadsheets) do not count against your 5GB limit. This limit will be the same storage limit when Google Drive is enabled.

Is Google Drive covered by the U-M Google Agreement?

Yes, Drive is part of the Google Docs app which means that it will be considered a Core Service and will be covered by the same terms as other U-M Core Services provided by Google. This means that:

  • U-M owns data
  • No advertising
  • No individual tracking
  • Confidentiality assured
  • No data sharing (unless required by law)
  • Not affected by Google's public terms of service

How Does Google Drive Work?

To learn more about Drive see:

Can I Add More Space to My Google Docs or Drive?

No, at this time the U-M domain is not configured to allow individuals or departments to add more than the standard 5GB of space to either Docs or Drive. The ability to purchase additional space will depend on activating additional services not covered in the original agreement between Google and U-M. These services are currently being evaluated and reviewed. If you need more space for cloud storage, consider getting a 15GB M+Box account.

How Do M+Box and Google Drive Compare?

Our initial understanding is that each tool has some distinct features and advantages, but there also is overlap in functionality. We will do a full comparison and testing of these tools in the UMICH environment in the upcoming weeks and report our findings.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Service Center at or 4-HELP (764-4357