Google Workspace has recently changed its storage policy, impacting Binghamton University students, faculty and staff.
According to a Dateline announcement, individuals using BU’s Google Services will no longer have the ability to make their own Google shared drives starting Jan. 23. The changed policy requires the once unlimited storage model to become a pooled storage model, meaning storage is shared across all users for everything in their shared drives and Google accounts. Instead of making their own shared drives, faculty, staff and students will have to submit requests to Information Technology Services (ITS), who will create new shared drives that are set to a storage limit of 100 GB.
Michael Hizny, the director of Enterprise Systems and Applications, explained the reasoning behind the decision from Google.
“This change was more Google than it was [BU],” Hizny wrote in an email. “It basically comes down to Google trying to control exponential use in Google storage and the costs associated with this.”
In a post on the Google Outreach Initiatives blog, the change is explained as a way to curb storage consumption as Google Workspace for Education expands its services to more schools. Additionally, the blog post said that the new policy aims to promote a more equitable distribution of data storage within and among colleges and universities using the service.
Hizny elaborated on what the cap on storage meant for Google Drive users.
“Once the storage limit is set at 100 GB, the affected shared drive will be fully available to the user and all members but in read-only mode,” Hizny wrote in an email. “Files stored in the shared drive cannot be modified and new content cannot be added until the storage is brought under the 100 GB limit.”
In order to create a new shared drive, students can fill out a request form on the ITS website with information such as the shared drive manager, preferred drive name, impact and urgency.
Ryan Calhoun, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said the new Google policy could become problematic for the University.
“Whenever I started a group project, the very first step would be creating a drive,” Calhoun said. “Without having that option at the fingertips of students and professors, it seems like a mess of shared folders are, unfortunately, going to become the favored option. Even though the option to make a request to ITS still remains, the hassle and wait times surrounding it will likely deter the majority of people on campus from choosing to use shared drives in the first place.”
Calhoun also said that Student Association (SA) chartered clubs and organizations will still be able to create shared drives for any projects that they are a part of through the @binghamtonsa.org domain email they receive, without having to contact ITS.
Sophie DiScala, a senior majoring in environmental science, said she often uses shared Google drives and is concerned about the policy changes.
“I don’t know how much control the University has over these changes, but I feel like if a lot of students are submitting forms to ITS, it’s probably going to take a long time,” DiScala said. “I know I use shared drives for projects a lot. I’m sure it’s not a problem right now, but I think it’s going to accumulate into one in the future.”
In order to mitigate issues with storage limits, a BU statement recommends that students download any inactive content to another means of storage and delete it off Google Drive. Any questions can be directed to the ITS help desk at 607-777-6420 or email@example.com.