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FAQs: Google Workspace Optimization Project

Below is a list of common questions and answers about this project. Check back as more Frequently Asked Questions will be added as the project moves forward.

Clean Up Google Drive

Why do I need to clean up my files?
When the university’s existing contract expires, Google will require us to pay for storage based on the amount we are using. We are asking everyone to clean up their files so we can understand how much storage we need. 
How do I check my current storage use?
To check your current storage use, go to
What counts toward storage use?

The following count toward file storage:

  • Google Drive
    • Most files in Google Drive, including PDFs, images, and videos
    • Files created or edited after May 2, 2022, in collaborative content apps such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard
    • Content in shared drives
    • Items in your “trash” that haven’t been permanently deleted
  • Gmail
    • Messages and attachments, including items in Spam and Trash folders
  • Google Photos
What doesn't count toward storage use?

The following  doesn't count toward file storage

  • Files in "Shared with me." Shared files are counted only for the file owner's storage, not for the users the file is shared with
  • Google sites
  • Drive shortcuts
  • Content created with My Maps 
  • Version history for files created in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, unless the user explicitly decides to keep older versions
How do I manage my storage by deleting content?

When managing your storage use, you may want to start by reviewing items that use the most amount of storage space. Items that commonly utilize more storage space include large files (videos, music, software installers, etc.), high resolution or raw photos, and docs/sheets/slides with images embedded.

For tips on how to review your Google Drive and delete content, visit How to Clean Up Google Drive

Please be aware of any collaborators on files/folders you own if you choose to delete them, as you may cause data loss for those accessing that content.

I deleted several large files, so why hasn’t my storage use changed?

When you first delete content, it is moved to the "trash"  and automatically and permanently deleted after 30 days. Before the 30-day window closes, you can restore your files.

To permanently delete your Google Drive files and make space available, you must move them to “trash”  and empty your bin. Until permanently deleted, items in trash count against your storage use. 

Remember, items that are permanently deleted from trash are irrecoverable. 

Is there a way to see the storage usage of my group (lab, department, etc)?
The project team is in the process of developing new tools that will provide for IT leaders with these kinds of insights. Stay tuned for more information to follow.
Will any of my files in Google Drive be automatically deleted or migrated?
There are no plans to automatically migrate or delete files that are currently stored in Google Drive.
Does the transition away from free, unlimited storage impact shared drives? If so, will there also be changes to shared drives?
We're currently in the early stages of the project, diligently exploring solutions. However, in the future it’s likely that policies and practices for the creation and life cycle management of shared drives will be a part of the strategy needed to adapt to Google's service changes.
How can I get involved in representing my team or participating in these discussions?
Start by filling out this form, indicating your interest in participating. We will then reach out to discuss the best way for you to get involved.
Last modified September 11, 2023