UT to limit Google account storage to 5GB starting Nov. 1

Hope Unger, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Feb. 25, 2022 flipbook.

UT will start limiting storage for all UTmail accounts starting Nov. 1. Current students, faculty and staff will need to reduce their Gmail and Google Workspace storage to 5 gigabytes and will not be able to send or receive emails until the storage is reduced. 

The storage reduction is due to a change in the G Suite storage policy, according to Information Technology Services. By the beginning of December 2022, the pooled storage limit will be 545 terabytes. UTmail has accumulated over 6.4 petabytes, or over 6.4 million GB, of pooled storage as of November 2021, according to ITS.

Mario Guerra, senior project manager of the Google storage reduction plan, said ITS is not removing any access to UTmail. Alumni, former students and retirees will be limited to 1GB and their accounts will be deleted if inactive for a year, according to an email sent by ITS. 

Guerra said there are around 275,000 to 280,000 accounts in the UT Google tenant, but only 6% are over the limit because they store larger files like videos. 

“Given the number of users in our environment, the amount of overall (or pooled) space made available to UT-Austin by Google and the average amount of data used by each person, these limits will preserve usability and stability of the service for all users,” Guerra said in an email.

Recently, ITS started to create Microsoft accounts for students, which have 25TB of storage per user, said Guerra. He also said the University will provide both UTmail and Microsoft accounts to all students, faculty and staff. 

Neal Makwana, an electrical and computer engineering sophomore, said his friends and family encouraged him to apply for internships using his UTmail account, and his Google account has accumulated 15GB of used storage space holding essays, notes, engineering codes and design work.

“Sharing is pretty easy on a lot of the Google applications, especially in college,” Makwana said. “If you’re working on essays for a project or something with a group of people in the class, you can just send them a Google link, and you can work in real time with other people.”

Makwana said switching over to Microsoft might be difficult for students who are not comfortable with the software. 

“It’s going to be tedious to move all the files over,” Makwana said. “Sometimes fonts and stuff kind of translate weird whenever moving them over to a different application.”

Justin Phan, a psychology and sociology senior, said Google Drive is convenient, and he has used it since middle school. 

“The user interface and user experience is so much better not only with Google Sheets, but honestly Google documents too and everything overall,” Phan said. “(Microsoft) is not really easy at all.”

Phan said he has used 130GB during his time at UT, and the limit of 5GB on his Google account would only last him one semester. 

“I definitely understand where UT is coming from. … It takes a lot of space on the internet and storage to have all of this stuff,” Phan said. “If we’re able to consolidate it and keep our things more organized, it would be a lot cheaper for UT.”