Google Completely Ruined Shared Folders in Drive
This story was originally published 2020/04/09 9:50am PDTon Apr 9, 2020 and last updated 2020/04/10 3:15am PDTApr 10, 2020. Several weeks ago, Google rolled out a change to Drive that lets you create shortcuts to files and folders. The feature had been in testing since August 2019, and its goal is to help you better organize shared files and folders without duplicating them, thus saving you storage and reducing the redundancy and confusion when you move things around. However, this seemingly benign improvement has completely ruined shared folders for anyone who syncs Drive locally to their PC or Mac. The feature regression isn’t yet visible if you’re working with folders that have already been shared and organized. So if your family, group of friends, team, or company already uses some shared folders, they won’t be affected until September 2020 — the date at which shared folders and files will be automatically switched to shortcuts for everyone except the original owner. That temporary reprieve is likely why many of us didn’t notice the change. To see it in action, you have to try to share a file or folder now. On the sender’s end, nothing changes, but on the recipient’s end, things are completely different from what they used to be. This article and the change it describes applies to people using Google Drive and shared folders, be it on personal Google accounts or G Suite ones. However, if you’re a G Suite user, Google recommends something completely different from basic shared files and folders, and which should be unaffected by this change: Shared Drives and Drive File Stream. File Stream may be more tedious to deploy, but it has advantages over Backup & Sync and is better suited for a professional environment. You can get a short explanation of the benefits in this discussion I had with realtestman in our comment section below. What’s changing on the web On the web, the switch to shortcuts is merely aesthetic from a user’s perspective. As long as you’re online, clicking a received file or folder opens them like you’re used to. However: the option to “Move” them to our Drive is grayed out the option to “Add to Drive” is now “Add shortcut to Drive” dragging and dropping them to your Drive creates a shortcut too. Edit: if you highlight the file and type Shift Z on your keyboard, you should be offered the old option to move it to your Drive. See update note at the end of the post. Top: “Move” or “Add” to Drive is no longer possible. You can only add a shortcut. Bottom: Even drag-and-drop creates shortcuts. When they’re in your Drive, the icons have a shortcut arrow on them to differentiate them from the files and folders that you own. The benefit here is that you can create as many shortcuts as you want, so you could quickly access a shared file or folder from multiple places inside your Drive without duplicating them. Anyone who enjoys hierarchy and organization will love this. File ownership is also clearer on Google’s end: One file, one owner, one place. Fewer sync issues, fewer bugs when people make modifications on their end. » Read More
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