Sharing and Ownership

Learn about Sharing and Ownership within Google Drive platforms.

Google Drive provides a high level of flexibility in its sharing model in comparison to other storage providers. This additional flexibility creates issues when migrating to a new Google Tenant or another storage provider like Dropbox.

Team drives vs Shared folders

There are some subtle differences between Team Drives and Shared folders.

Team DrivesShared Folders

Who owns the content

The organisation

The individual user who created each file or folder.

Can permissions be removed


Permissions can be customised at any level.

The sharing user, can be removed from subfolders created by external users.

File limitations

400,000 files per drive


Content can be orphaned



The most important thing to remember here is around ownership. In a Team Drive, the organization owns the content, not individual users. In a Shared Folder, the individual that creates the content owns it. This means, user1@google shares a folder with user2@google, and then user2@google creates a file or folder, it is owned by user2@google and user2@google can revoke user1@googles access to it.

This flexibility can cause data loss and orphaned data, whereby the parent folder has been deleted and the child no longer has a parent and so cannot be found.

This approach to ownership is great for individual users, but a nightmare for organizations, as organizations lose control over their data.

Migrating MyDrive data with Movebot

Movebot takes a pragmatic approach to solving this problem and normalizes the ownership model so that it works for organizations and is compatible with other content systems like Dropbox, Box, and Office365.

During a migration, content discovered under a particular user's root becomes their content in the destination. Permissions can still be assigned, and that content can be shared with anyone, but the ownership stays under the migrating user.

This ensures that the organization has control over the data.

Migrating invisible data in MyDrive

If users have created complex sharing rules in shared MyDrive folders, then the migrating user may not be able to see data that lives in their shared folders.

Movebot can detect this, by enabling "Search for unreachable content"

Unreachable data will then be flagged.

Note: Enabling this option does slow down the calculating stage, but disabling the option can lead to data loss, as any files that meet the criteria won't be moved.

If you are unsure about enabling this option, contact support at

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