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Google Workspace F.A.Q.

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Frequently asked questions about Google Workspace are answered below.


What is Google Workspace?

Google Workspace, formerly G Suite and Apps at UMass Amherst, is a customized version of Google’s popular online productivity and collaboration tools designed especially for educational institutions. This set of applications (or 'apps') provides you with:

  • Unlimited Storage.
  • Google Calendar to schedule meetings, create events, and share calendars with others.
  • Google Drive to store, share, and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online, in real time.
  • Google Sites to easily create Web sites and share them with small groups or the world.
  • And much more. Restrictions apply (see below).


Why should I use Google Workspace?

Google Workspace Amherst comes with several key benefits:

  • Collaborate and edit documents in real time. Create Google Docs (similar to Microsoft Word), Sheets (similar to Microsoft Excel), Slides (similar to Microsoft PowerPoint), Drawings, and Forms and then share and edit them on the go from any device at any time. Note: Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets are not the exact equivalent to the Microsoft Office Suite. Depending on your needs, Google Documents may not be a substitute for MS Office.
  • Keep organized and easily share your calendar. Schedule meetings, set reminders, create events, and share your calendar(s) using Google Calendar.
  • Easily locate members of the university community to share files or events. Simply type in a student’s or colleague’s name and Google will auto-complete their information.
  • Keep your university work separate. Google Workspace provides you with space to store and manage your work files, allowing you to keep your work and personal documents separate.
  • Unlimited storage.
  • Approved storage for some university data. Under the University’s contract with Google, you can store some sensitive University data (e.g., class rosters and other student education records) on Google Workspace. You may not store this data on consumer Google Apps services. Types of university data you can and cannot store on Google Workspace at UMass Amherst
  • Added privacy & security protection for you and your data. Unlike consumer Google services, Google Workspace does not show advertisements and Google will not use your data for marketing purposes. In case of a security breach, you and your data are protected under the University’s contract with Google. Because consumer Google accounts do not provide the same level of protection, we recommend that you use Google Workspace at UMass Amherst, and not a consumer Google account, for University-related work. Restrictions apply (see above).


What’s the difference between Google Workspace at UMass Amherst and my regular Google account?

Unlike your regular Google account, Google Workspace at UMass Amherst does not show any advertisements and Google does not use your data for analysis or marketing campaigns. Google Workspace also includes many critical security features specifically designed to keep your data secure and in your control. It allows you to control your data, including who you share it with and how you share it.


I have a separate personal Google account that I have been using for years. Why should I move everything over to my Google Workspace at UMass Amherst account?

You don’t have to move your personal documents and calendars over to Google Workspace at UMass Amherst, but it is an option. See how to easily Transfer Personal Google Docs & Calendars to Google Workspace. You can also share documents from your personal account to your Google Workspace at UMass Amherst account.

You can choose to keep your personal (consumer) Google account separate from your UMass Amherst Google account to easily distinguish between personal and work/school. This option does involve logging out of one account before accessing the other account. To avoid logging out and back in, you can have them both open, but in different browsers (e.g., if you are logged into your personal account in Chrome, open Firefox and log in to Google Workspace).


Do I have to use Google Workspace?

The service is entirely optional for faculty, staff, and graduate students. Undergraduates must use UMass Amherst Google Mail (part of Google Workspace) for their University email. 

If you are currently using a consumer Google account for University-related work, we strongly recommend that you check the University’s data storage guidelines and switch to Google Workspace at UMass Amherst if appropriate.


I do not have a smartphone, can I use Google Workspace?

Yes, Google Workspace can be used on computers as well as mobile devices. The “Apps” in Google Workspace stands for “Applications” (Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Sites, etc.), not to be confused with “Apps” that are used on mobile devices only. To access Google Workspace, go to and log in with your IT Account NetID and password. You will be sent to your Calendar. Learn the basics of Google Apps at


What apps are included in the Google Workspace suite?

Google Workspace features Google Mail, Drive, Calendar, and Sites, as well as a host of other applications. Please remember:

  • Google Groups is currently unavailable.
  • For the full list of apps, in the Google Workspace navigation bar, go to More > Even More. This list is subject to change to reflect the latest apps in the Google Apps for Education suite. 
  • For security reasons, Google Workspace does not include Picasa Web Albums and Google+, among others.
  • If you are interested in a particular app that is not part of the standard set, please contact the IT Help Center especially if it has a cost associated with it. UMass Amherst IT will be evaluating and adding apps to Google Workspace on an ongoing basis. In some cases, we may add your suggested app to our list, in other cases, we may recommend that you purchase it under your personal Google account (so you don't lose it when you leave the University). 


How do I log in?

Go to and log in with your IT Account NetID and password.
Note: Make sure you log out of any personal Google accounts before you log in. If you want to easily use your Google Workspace account at the same time as your personal account, you can sign in to Google Workspace in a different browser (e.g., if you are logged into your personal account in Chrome, open Firefox and log in to Google Workspace). You will see the Google Workspace logo in the top left corner of the page when you successfully log into Google Workspace.

Faculty, staff, and graduate students: When you log in you will by default be brought to your calendar. If you would like to go directly to Drive, you can go to and then log in with your IT Account NetID and password.

Undergraduates: Learn more about the different ways you can access UMass Amherst Google Mail


What browser should I use Google Workspace with?

We recommend using Mozilla Firefox, but Chrome is also a viable option. We do not recommend using Internet Explorer.


Do faculty, staff, and graduate students have access to Google Mail?

Not at this time. UMass Amherst Google Mail is currently available only to undergraduate students. A separate version of Google Workspace, featuring Google Drive, Calendar, and Sites, but not Google Mail, has been available to all faculty, staff, and graduate students since August 13, 2013.

I have questions. Where do I go for help?

For questions, please check our Troubleshooting Tips or visit the Google Apps Support Site. We encourage instructors and staff to explore Google Apps in their work, but we are currently not offering formal assistance for the instructional or business use of Google Workspace. 


What is my Google Workspace quota?

There is no quota; you have unlimited storage.

I want to share documents with colleagues, but they don’t take the time to sign up. Is there a quick way to sign up?

All UMass Amherst faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students have an Google Workspace account already set up for them. All they have to do is go to and log in with their IT Account NetID and password. Once logged in, they will see what you have shared with them in their Drive.

Another sharing option is to make the document available to anyone with the link.

How is Google Drive different from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides?

Google Docs is the editor for Google documents, Google Sheets is the spreadsheets editor, and Google Slides is the presentations editor. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, along with Drawings and Forms, are online documents that live in the cloud and provide real-time collaboration features. Note: The term "Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides" often refers to all the Google online document editors, including Drawings and Forms.

Google Drive is the storage 'shell' that enables you to access all your files, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms, as well as local files that you sync to the cloud. If you used Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides prior to April, 2012, Google Drive replaces the Google Documents List (or Google Docs).

I would like a separate departmental account. Is that possible with Google Workspace?

Yes. Faculty and Staff can request a Subsidiary IT Account to use with Google Workspace.


What policies apply to Google Workspace?

The use of Google Workspace is covered by IT's Acceptable Use Policy and Email Communications Policy as well as Google’s Privacy Policy.


Can I store sensitive university data on Google Workspace?

UMass Amherst has negotiated a contract with Google to adhere to security best practices and has authorized Google to act as an agent of the university. The contract allows some sensitive university data, including student education records (e.g., class rosters), to be stored on Google Workspace. See our Requirements for Storing university Data.

Note: Separate, more stringent restrictions apply to sharing sensitive university data. Permission to store a certain type of data on Google Workspace does not mean you can share, distribute, or disclose this data using this service.


What should I know about security and privacy?

The use of Google Workspace is covered by the Google Privacy Policy. The university cannot guarantee that Google provides the same levels of security and privacy provided on university-maintained servers. IT will provide Google with your name and NetID you will for use with your Google Workspace account.

You are responsible for your own personal information. The university encourages you to use caution when sharing any personal information, including your phone number, location, and class schedule. When storing data, especially university data, be sure to refer to our Requirements for Storing University Data first.

Your name and UMass Amherst email address will be visible to all users with whom you share documents or calendars. Please use caution when sharing documents, especially with users outside the university. View Google's statement on Security and Privacy.


How do I ensure the security of my data when using a shared or public computer (e.g., kiosk)?

When using Google Workspace on a shared or public computer, click your email (, then Sign out (top right) when you are finished using your account. Just closing the Web browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox) will not end your session. If you don’t sign out, the next user will have full access to your Google Workspace account.

We also recommend that students sign out of Google Mail on a regular basis. To do so, at the bottom of your Google Inbox, in the lower right corner, click Details. A new page will open, listing all activity for your account. Click Sign out all other sessions.


Is the data that I put on Google Workspace available to the public?

Google Workspace services are not publicly available by default. Users can grant access to people outside of the UMass Amherst community. You can protect your information by only granting access to trusted individuals. Email is private, but the other apps can be shared with others. Please exercise caution when sharing information with others, especially university data.


Can I make suggestions about apps to be included in Google Workspace?

Yes. Contact the IT Help Center if there is an app that could benefit the campus community. IT is constantly evaluating and adding apps to the Google Workspace suite.