Google Drive: Move beyond a mere Dropbox

Here's how to setup Google Drive for organization-wide file sharing.

How to enable Google Drive and set up a Shared Folder

For many organizations, Google Drive might easily replace the need for local shared file storage. Here's how to setup and configure an organization-wide shared folder within Google Drive.

Note: These instructions assume that you are using Google Apps and that your Google Apps administrator has enabled Google Drive for your domain from the Control Panel.

Enable and Install Google Drive

1. Go to Click on the blue "Get started with 5Gb free" button.

2. Click on the blue "Try Google Drive" button.

The renamed "Docs" screen will now display as "Drive".

3. Click on the "Download Google Drive" (for PC or Mac, depending on your system).

You will then need to accept the terms of service. Click on "Accept and Install".

4. Sign in to Google Drive with your Google Apps email and password. (If your organization uses two-factor authentication, you may need to verify your six digit code, as well.)

5. You'll then see two "Getting started" screens. Read how Google Drive works on the first, then click next.

Optional: If you want to selectively sync files, click the "Advanced Setup" button.

Otherwise, click "Start sync". This will sync all existing files from your former Google Docs - now Google Drive - account to your desktop.

Then, wait for the files to sync. When Google Drive is set up on a Windows 7 system, you'll see the Google Drive icon in your system tray in the lower right corner of your desktop.

Setup a Shared Folder with Google Drive

1. Login to Google Drive with your web browser.

2. Next, you'll create a folder. Click "Create" in the upper left, then click on "Folder".

Name the folder something meaningful for you and your colleagues, such as "Shared Files", and then click "Create".

The folder will now appear in the list of folders on the left side of the screen. Be sure the "My Drive" drop-down triangle points downward to display the folders.

3. Now we need to share the folder. To do this, move your cursor over the folder name. A drop down arrow will appear. Click this, then select Share, and then Share from the additional sub-menu.

Here, you can choose to share the folder with specific people (via their email address). For our purposes, we'll share the folder with everyone in the organization. To do this, click the word "Change" found just under - and to the right of - the "Who has access" heading.

Change the Visibility option as desired. In my case, I shared the folder with everyone at my domain. Be sure to check the box to "Allow anyone within (your domain) to edit" if you want to use this as an organization-wide shared folder.

4. Finally, people with access to the shared folder can now find it and add it to their Google Drive.

Users with access to the folder should now be able to search for the folder name while viewing their Google Drive files in a web browser.

When they see the new shared folder, they can drag-and-drop it from the file listing (under the word "Title") to the "My Drive" list at the left of their screen.

From now on, any files added to this folder by users with edit permissions will automatically sync to Google Drive - and then sync to all connected Google Drive accounts on local computers.

Now you can enjoy a powerful file viewing, commenting, editing and syncing tool on your desktop and in your browser. You may never need to use a USB flash drive again.

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Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.


Looking through the smoke and mirrors when it comes to "cloud" based solutions, I have come up to the conclusion that most people really do not think much past today to see the fallacy of relying on "cloud" based solutions. So called applications which attempt to provide equivalence with real applications just cannot provide the functionality of those local applications, nor do they provide the security of locally installed applications and storing the data on your local drives. Putting all of your data into Google's or any other's servers is like handing your wallet over to them. Only a brain dead moron would allow someone that they do not know very well to hold on to their wallet. As for utilizing cloud based storage, it is too expensive as compared to local storage, and with proper planning you can ensure that you have all of the files that you would need on a mobile device. I am looking forward to all of this hype to go the way of the netbook, dead and buried.


"With Google Drive, a double-click on a Google Doc opens the document in a browser" - Woopie. I can open a .DOC file and Word opens up on my desktolp or laptop. So? And it can view a bunch of type. I don't know when the last time someone sent me a Photoshop PSD file and no one ever sent me a PAGES file. Anyone actually use that? And as for Autocad, if you aren't in that business you don't need it. If you are, you already have Autocad installed. So again. Big woop. Finally do you wish to put everything in one basket? If Google Apps [or Google Drive] goes down - and it has enough times - that isn't good.


There is enough players in the consumer segment, but there is lack of focus on the business needs when it comes to file sharing and sync services. Are there better solutions out there in the market that is designed for businesses rather than compromising on a consumer service.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

CBS Interactive turned on Google Drive enterprise-wide this week. Have you turned Google Drive in your organization? Are your users taking advantage of it like you think they should?


I'd assert that a solution that EXCLUDES local file storage would actually be a better enterprise solution. That's why orgs move to solutions like desktop or app virtualization. My hunch is that Google's engineers think web-based apps and data are optimal. I think Google Drive is a concession to the way people -- consumers and business people -- are accustomed to working: with local apps and data. That may be why it took so long for them to get around to building Google Drive. My hunch is that the Google folks are building Google Drive in such a way as to provide people with a tool that minimizes behavior change. Even if the system works in a non-optimal way from a security, design and engineering standpoint. In my optimal world, there would be no need for file sharing or sync: you'd simply login, and the apps and data would all simply be available. The user shouldn't have to think about files at all. I think both Google and Apple are moving in this direction, but with somewhat different approaches! It will take a few years for this transition to take place. --Andy

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