Google’s new collaboration tool: Taking Team Drives for a test drive

Collaboration in the workplace is nothing new. With businesses turning more global, the number of employees working on a project and the resources utilized are increasing exponentially. There has to be proper communication among these employees to ensure business continuity. As a result, effective collaboration in the teams within an organization is turning out to be a vital key to success. Currently, there are a large number of tools and software packages readily available to bolster collaboration among employees. Stand-alone applications, which were once confined on-premises, are now migrated to the cloud to offer better collaboration. Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have already launched their collaboration tools to provide better operability and services. Google’s Team Drives is the latest collaboration tool and is an important part of the company’s flagship G Suite services.

More about Team Drives

Google Team Drives is an enterprise-focused collaboration tool, which inherits most of its interface from Google Drive. However, the company says that everything beneath the interface is a completely new, different, and has powerful APIs that fuels this collaboration tool. Team Drives is meant to serve companies of all shapes and sizes ranging from both small and large businesses.

Team Drives

Team Drives is an easy-to-use tool that makes collaboration almost effortless. It provides a common shared space that can be used by all team members to search, view, edit, upload, organize, and delete data or files based on the roles and permissions assigned.

Team Drives is now available in various editions of G Suite including:

  • G Suite Enterprise
  • G Suite Business
  • G Suite for Education editions

How is it different from My Drive?

Team DrivesAs mentioned earlier, Team Drives looks and feels identical to My Drive in terms of interface. But they are different altogether in terms of their working and underlying APIs.

As the name suggests, Team Drives is a common drive for your team, whereas My Drive is specific to an individual. Team Drives allows all team members to search, access, and store any file, anywhere, and on any device. This makes it very easy for organizations to manage data. Adding and removing members from the team is also made easy and this will not affect the files. If an employee leaves an organization, the data on which he’s working will remain available in Team Drives, making it possible for other team members to use it. This makes sure that business continuity is preserved without any hindrance.

In Team Drives, every member can be given a different access. For instance, a team lead will have full access including viewing, uploading, organizing and deleting files. Conversely, an intern, can be granted access to just view and upload data.

Setting it up

To create Team Drives, you must be registered to G Suite and must have the right access. From the menu available in the left navigation, click on Team Drives and click on New on the top-left corner of the screen. Now you need to enter the team name and proceed further as per the instructions on screen.

Now that a team has been created, you can add members to the team. By default, every member added will be given admin access, which can, however, be easily modified. Every user can be assigned certain accesses including full access, edit access, comment access, and view access. You will also get an option to customize the accesses to the users.

Now, you can start adding files and folders. Every file and folder can also be assigned with various permissions and can be organized easily. Files can be searched, starred, moved, deleted, and can be restored easily from the trash.

A team member can also import the files directly from their personal drive or from another Team Drives. In order to perform these actions, a user must have full access to the source drive and have at least write access to the destination drive.

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Sharing and collaborating files is also simplified and it is also possible to share files with other members of an organization, who are not a part of your team. You can also set permissions before sharing the file, which will ensure there is no misuse of the file or the data within it. Once a file has been shared, you can unshare the file with individuals and with the organization all together at once.

Why should an enterprise use this tool?

Business continuity

Confining a file to one particular employee ensures that the data in the file stays intact but what if the employee leaves the organization? Determining a file owner when an employee quits an organization can be really troublesome.

With Team Drives, the ownership of a file will not be confined to one specific user. Instead, all team members with the right set of roles and permissions can access the file, even in the absence of the file creator, so tracking down the information and passing on the information becomes hassle-free. Team Drives is meant to increase collaboration in the enterprises and ensures business continuity.

Onboarding new hires is easier

In any organization, when new employees are recruited, they are subjected to training after which they are given their access to work and other organizational resources. This process can be cumbersome as the new hires are initially to be given access to just training material, which will change at a later point in time. Using Team Drives, these roles, permissions, and accesses to the data and files can be very easily managed. For instance, all the group of trainees can be added to one group during their training and can later be moved to their respective Team Drives.

Easy to manage and organize files and folders

Files can be placed in folders and can be managed, organized, and accessed at a granular level.

Accesses and permissions can be easily managed and monitored

Team Drives is one of the few collaboration tools available that offers a wide set of predefined roles and accesses. It also allows users to customize new roles and permissions. Every role and access can be easily managed, modified, and monitored at any point in time.

The use of machine learning can boost productivity

Google has started implementing machine learning techniques in its products. Accordingly, Team Drives also comes with machine learning algorithms under the hood. This helps users get quick access to the files on which they are most likely to be working on. This saves a lot of valuable productive time and also saves resources as it doesn’t need metadata of the data, which is quite a time-consuming process.

Google Team Drives offers compelling means of collaboration with ease of data management, sharing, and monitoring. It comes with a minimalistic yet intuitive user interference and is backed by machine learning techniques behind the scenes. Considering all these features and Google’s support, Team Drives is a handy collaborative tool for companies of all sizes.

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1 thought on “Google’s new collaboration tool: Taking Team Drives for a test drive”

  1. Hey Sukesh,
    Great write-up but I feel you missed an important caveat that people are dealing with when migrating to Team Drives: Folder sharing and moving. Currently. Team Drives do not have Folder Sharing capabilities, meaning I have to share individual files with people not on the Team instead of sharing the entire folder. This should be noted for users who require folder sharing before they decide to migrate everything to Team Drives.

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