1.5 Google Shared Drive

We have all experienced the moment where we can’t remember where a Google Doc is. To help solve this problem, we created an emLab Shared Google Drive, which is a centralized space for all of our documents to live within a shared file structure. Unlike files in My Drive (your personal Google Drive account), files within the Shared Drive belong to the team instead of an individual. So even if people leave, the files stay exactly where they are and aren’t lost with that person’s account. The structure of Shared Drive is detailed in Section 2. You can read more about Shared Drives here.

1.5.1 Sharing Files

Note: for Shared Drive, you either add someone to the entire Drive OR share individual files with them. You cannot share folders within a Shared Drive with external collaborators.

Members of the Shared Drive can see all folders and files within the Drive. If you want to send a quick link to someone who is part of the Shared Drive, simply copy the URL from your browser. There is no need to create a shared link if you are sending it to someone with access to the emLab Shared Drive.

If you want to share files with people outside of the emLab Shared Drive, that is still possible. Within a document, click on Share in the upper right hand corner. From there are two options: either add people’s emails or create a shared link.

1.5.2 Linking the Shared Drive and your Computer

1.5.2.1 Why Install Drive File Stream?

As explained above, using a Shared Drive means that individuals don’t “own” the files. All files are instead owned by the emLab Shared Drive, which lives “on the cloud”. You can access these files through a web browser, just as you would access them on Google Drive. However, it is nice to have the files directly in your computer. To do so, you’ll need to install Drive File Stream, Google’s new system that will partially replace Google Backup and Sync

There are important distinctions between Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream. As the names indicate it, Backup and Sync syncs and stores Drive content locally on your computer (that is, it takes up space in your hard drive). Drive File Stream, however streams all files and folders from the cloud. You can think of these as owning a DVD vs. streaming the movie from NetFlix. You can read more on the differences between these approaches here.

1.5.2.2 Step-by-step Installation

Download Drive File Stream

Download Drive File Stream

  • If you are on a Windows machine, execute the googledrivefilestream.exe file. If you are on MacOS, run the googledrivefilestream.dmg file and then run the GoogleDriveFileStream.pkg file.

  • Follow instruction on the helper (accept all defaults)

Once the installation is complete, you’ll need to sign in to your account. To do so:

  • Click on the Drive File Stream icon ()

    • On Windows machines, it should be on the bottom right corner of your screen

    • On MacOS, it should be at the top right of your screen

  • Sign in with your ucsb account

  • After signing in, the application will launch a short 4-screen overview of the product

  • The last screen should look like the screenshot below. Click on the button to open your GoogleDrive folder and access your files

four-screen overview

four-screen overview

Once that finder / explorer opens, you should be able to see two folders: 1) My Drive and 2) Shared drives. The first folder will contain files owned by you (that is, your normal Google Drive Files stored on your ucsb account). The second folder will contain all shared drives you are part of. By navigating to that folder, you should see the emLab shared drive, containing all the folders mentioned earlier. A general structure of the GoogleDrive folder is shown below:

Google Drive
  |__ My Drive
  |   |__ Whatever files you have on your GoogleDrive
  |__ Shared drives
      |__ emlab
          |__central-emlab-resources
          |__communications
          |__data
          |__projects
          |__strategy

1.5.3 Other Considerations

1.5.3.1 Actual location of the Google Drive folder on my computer

Remember that File Stream will stream, not save files to your computer. Therefore, there will be no folder directly under your devices / hard drives. Instead, your computer will detect the Google Drive folder as if it were an external device connected to your machine. On a Mac, the folder will therefore appear on your desktop, or under the Devices tab of your Finder. On a Windows machine, it will appear under This PC, next to your hard drive and any other connected devices.

Location of the Google Drive folder depending on your operating system. Left panel shows location of the folder on Mac, and right shows the location of the folder on Windows.

Location of the Google Drive folder depending on your operating system. Left panel shows location of the folder on Mac, and right shows the location of the folder on Windows.