Google completely ruined shared folders in Drive (Update: Workaround, Google shares longterm plan)

Article Contents

  • 1 Solely newly shared folders are affected, for now
  • 2 What’s altering on the net
    • 2.1 Attention-grabbing unwanted effects
  • 3 How this interprets to your laptop
    • 3.1 Folders are ruined
    • 3.2 Tedious workaround… and never even
  • 4 Chrome OS and Android are largely unaffected
    • 4.1 Chrome OS solely has one limitation
    • 4.2 Shush… Android nonetheless helps you to correctly transfer shared folders

A number of weeks in the past, Google rolled out a change to Drive that permits you to create shortcuts to recordsdata and folders. The function had been in testing since August 2019, and its aim is that can assist you higher manage shared recordsdata and folders with out duplicating them, thus saving you storage and lowering the redundancy and confusion once you transfer issues round. Nevertheless, this seemingly benign enchancment has utterly ruined shared folders for anybody who syncs Drive domestically to their PC or Mac.

Solely newly shared folders are affected, for now

The function regression is not but seen should you’re working with folders which have already been shared and arranged. So if your loved ones, group of buddies, crew, or firm already makes use of some shared folders, they will not be affected till September 2020 — the date at which shared folders and recordsdata will likely be mechanically switched to shortcuts for everybody besides the unique proprietor.

That short-term reprieve is probably going why many people did not discover the change. To see it in motion, you need to attempt to share a file or folder now. On the sender’s finish, nothing modifications, however on the recipient’s finish, issues are utterly completely different from what they was.

This text and the change it describes applies to individuals utilizing Google Drive and shared folders, be it on private Google accounts or G Suite ones. Nevertheless, should you’re a G Suite consumer, Google recommends one thing utterly completely different from fundamental shared recordsdata and folders, and which needs to be unaffected by this alteration: Shared Drives and Drive File Stream. File Stream could also be extra tedious to deploy, however it has benefits over Backup & Sync and is healthier suited to an expert surroundings. You will get a brief rationalization of the advantages in this dialogue I had with realtestman in our remark part under.

What’s altering on the net

On the net, the swap to shortcuts is merely aesthetic from a consumer’s perspective. So long as you are on-line, clicking a acquired file or folder opens them such as you’re used to. Nevertheless:

  • the choice to “Transfer” them to our Drive is grayed out
  • the choice to “Add to Drive” is now “Add shortcut to Drive”
  • dragging and dropping them to your Drive creates a shortcut too.
  • Edit: should you spotlight the file and sort Shift+Z in your keyboard, you have to be supplied the previous choice to maneuver it to your Drive. See replace word on the finish of the publish.

Prime: “Transfer” or “Add” to Drive is now not potential. You may solely add a shortcut. Backside: Even drag-and-drop creates shortcuts.

After they’re in your Drive, the icons have a shortcut arrow on them to distinguish them from the recordsdata and folders that you just personal.

The profit right here is which you could create as many shortcuts as you need, so you would rapidly entry a shared file or folder from a number of locations inside your Drive with out duplicating them. Anybody who enjoys hierarchy and group will love this. File possession can be clearer on Google’s finish: One file, one proprietor, one place. Fewer sync points, fewer bugs when individuals make modifications on their finish. Based mostly on the firm’s documentation, this side appears to be the largest motivator behind the change.

Attention-grabbing unwanted effects

The one file equals one authentic location equation requires Drive customers to regulate the best way they consider sharing and transferring issues round. For instance, these are two penalties that make sense on this new paradigm, however that you just by no means had to consider beforehand:

  • In case you are the proprietor of a file in Drive and transfer it out of your Drive to a shared folder the place you are a recipient (and never the proprietor), that file will now not be yours nonetheless be yours however it will not be saved in your Drive. You are still in command of entry privileges and might transfer it out, and if the proprietor of the shared folder deletes that folder, your file will get repatriated again to your Drive.
  • If the proprietor of a shared folder gave you the privilege to maneuver issues round, and you progress a file from the shared folder to your Drive, individuals it is shared with will lose entry. The file now not obeys to the rule of sharing from its guardian folder as a result of it is now not there.

Drive will warn you about these, however it’s possible you’ll click on with out studying the warning or realizing what it means.

How this interprets to your laptop

Now consider these recordsdata and folders that you just select to sync domestically to your laptop. You probably have a PC or Mac, you in all probability use Google’s Backup and Sync to make some or your whole Drive immediately accessible out of your file browser.

With shortcuts, Google-type recordsdata (like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides) and non-Google-type recordsdata are each unaffected when syncing domestically. The previous require you to be on-line regardless if it is a correct file or a shortcut, and the latter get synced even when they’re shortcuts.

The final level must be additional clarified as a result of it shocked me. Say somebody shared with me a “Shared Excel.xlsx” file. From Google Drive net, I created a shortcut for that file in my Drive. I then opened the Drive folder on my PC and noticed that the file was absolutely synced, not as a shortcut, however in its entirety. This was unexpectedly good. Simply to make sure, I turned off web entry, and opened the file. All the pieces labored. Any modifications I made had been synced as soon as I got here again on-line.

Recipient’s finish: Shared Excel (full file), Google Doc (shortcut, would not matter), and folder (shortcut).

Folders are ruined

Nevertheless, take a look at that acquired folder. It is a easy .gshortcut hyperlink. I can not open it like some other folder, cannot look inside, cannot sync something in it.

If I’m going offline and attempt to open it, I get hit by the Chrome dino. I’ve zero entry to something in it. The truth that it reveals up as a shared shortcut in my file browser is all I get from it. It is barely a reminder that there is a folder, someplace, that somebody shared with me.

After I’m offline, that is what I see of the shared folder.

Word that this occurs though Backup and Sync is ready as much as sync all the things on my PC. There isn’t any setting to sync shared folders, and even when I swap to “Sync solely these folders,” the shortcut folder would not present up within the listing. It is simply not acknowledged as a folder. The entire drawback would go away if it had been.

Now think about you are a member of a household, small crew, or any group that depends on shared folders in Google Drive. The proprietor of a folder retains going as regular, everybody else:

  • must be on-line to see what’s contained in the folder and which modifications different customers have made
  • cannot have the recordsdata contained in the folder sync mechanically within the background to their laptop, so they do not have easy accessibility to the most recent model
  • has to manually obtain any non-Google-type file each time to view it or edit it, then add it once more (Google-type recordsdata are unaffected as a result of they get edited dwell)
  • has to go to the Drive web site to maneuver a neighborhood file from their laptop into the shared folder — they cannot do it from their file browser, which was potential earlier than
  • additionally has to go to the Drive web site to maneuver a Drive file that they personal into that shared folder. However when the modifications sync domestically to their laptop, that file, which was on their machine, is gone, poof, deleted. It is solely accessible from that dang folder shortcut. On the net, it is clear that they are nonetheless the proprietor, however domestically, that would not issues little or no as a result of the file now belongs to a different construction. Edit: See the “Attention-grabbing unwanted effects” part above for more information.

In fewer phrases, native entry for folders is totally nerfed.

That is mindboggling. No different cloud storage service and sync app does issues this fashion, so far as I do know. Dropbox, One Drive, and others merely deal with folders as folders. What’s inside reveals up in your laptop, regardless should you’re the proprietor or recipient. All modifications sync. All the pieces is accessible offline.

Tedious workaround… and never even

The one manner I discovered to avoid this shared folder limitation on my PC was to open the folder in Google Drive net and create particular person shortcuts for each file inside my Drive. That manner I am coping with shortcuts to recordsdata and never folders, that are extra lenient as I defined earlier with the “Shared Excel.xlsx” story. Edit: Google even recommends this as an “various” in its documentation

The difficulty with this workaround, beside how tedious it’s to principally recreate the preliminary shared folder construction in your finish with particular person file shortcuts, is that any recordsdata that get added later by anybody (proprietor, me, or different individuals) will not sync, and any folder construction change will not sync. I might must go and double examine issues every so often to ensure I am not lacking something.

Chrome OS and Android are largely unaffected

Chrome OS solely has one limitation

I examined the identical shared recordsdata and folders on my Pixelbook and observed that issues stay largely the identical. I can nonetheless open shortcuts of shared folders and see their content material with out being redirected to Drive on the net.

Prime: Shared folder and recordsdata inside my Drive. Backside: Opening the shared folder shortcut to see its content material.

I also can make all the things obtainable offline, besides Google-type recordsdata (Docs, Sheets, Slides). That features folders too. Nevertheless, there’s one restriction: I can not transfer a file from my Drive or my laptop into the shared folder shortcut. This was potential earlier than with common shared folders. I must go to Drive on the net to add any file to this shared folder.

Prime: Making a folder obtainable offline. Backside: Cannot transfer a file to a shared folder shortcut.

Lastly, if I attempt to transfer a file from inside a shared folder to my Drive, it creates a duplicate and retains the unique. It’s possible you’ll recall that on the net, it lets me transfer it however warns me that I am about to take entry away from different individuals.

Shush… Android nonetheless helps you to correctly transfer shared folders

It isn’t a secret anymore, however if you wish to keep away from this silliness for the following few months till September 2020, then I’ve a small tip for you. Transferring shared folders correctly to your Google Drive remains to be potential within the Android app. I am utilizing Drive v2.20.121.04 and it is there, however it might be eliminated in a later model, so this is the APK file if you wish to set up it manually. It ought to nonetheless work till Google ruins issues by altering all folders to shortcuts on the server’s finish in September. Edit: See replace word on the finish of the publish for the same resolution from the net.

Within the Android app, go to the sharing tab (third tab) and faucet the three-dot menu on the best of any acquired file or folder. Scroll down and search for the Transfer choice, under Add shortcut to my Drive. It is shocking that the shortcut menu was renamed, like on the net, however the transfer choice is not gone as it’s there. Oh effectively, Google’s inconsistency is useful for as soon as.


The menu for shared recordsdata/folders nonetheless contains the “Transfer” choice.

This allows you to replicate the previous conduct of shared recordsdata and folders. Within the screenshots under, you may see the brand new shortcuts in addition to duplicates with out the shortcut icon. On cell, there is not any distinction actually, however these shared folders will behave like actual folders in your laptop, with full native entry, and that is the way you circumvent the problem… briefly.

Left: Shared recordsdata and folders as shortcuts. Proper: Through the use of the “Transfer” choice, I get dupes that are not shortcuts.

Beside this quirky omission on Google’s finish, issues are comparatively unchanged on Android, even when coping with shortcuts. You may make recordsdata obtainable offline (whether or not Google-type or non-Google-type), however not folders — although you may manually make all recordsdata inside a folder offline. Discover how that is completely different from Chrome OS, the place folders may be made offline, however Google-type recordsdata cannot. Every time I feel I am carried out with the discrepancies, I uncover a brand new one.

You may transfer or add recordsdata to a shared folder shortcut, which does not matter on cell however will have an effect on your entry should you sync to your laptop. You can too transfer recordsdata exterior of a shared folder, however like on the net, this removes entry from everybody else.

1800 phrases and dozens of inconsistencies and surprises later, it is abundantly clear that this shortcut change is not benign. Primarily, we went from “it is a folder, I shared it, carried out,” to a complicated mess and shortcut system that took me hours to untangle… and I feel I did not uncover all the problems but. It is so complicated that at the beginning we thought this entire scenario was a bug, however we reached out to Google which confirmed to us that that is anticipated conduct.

Now think about having to elucidate all of this to your loved ones or buddies or crew members (within the latter case, should you’re not utilizing Share Drives and File Stream): “Properly, Joe, no, you may’t see the month-to-month Excel report in your PC as a result of it is contained in the folder shortcut. No, it would not sync to your laptop, it is a folder however not a folder. Simply click on it. Sure, the file is there in Chrome (eye roll). Wait, Joe, did you progress the file out? Now everybody misplaced entry. Dammit Joe! Transfer it again. OK, now obtain it. I do know, it is unnecessary. Please do not contact something out of your laptop or telephone. You could have two days so as to add your division’s numbers into the sheet that you just downloaded. While you’re carried out, add the brand new model. I do know, it would not make sense both. Yeah, we’ll look into getting an Workplace 365 license subsequent month.”

Comparatively, each different cloud storage service on the market nonetheless treats folders as folders and manages to do that with out complaining about duplicate recordsdata and sharing privileges.

Regardless that I perceive how issues are simpler on Google’s finish with this new strategy, the ramifications (although principally logical) are just too complicated. Layer after layer, I laughingly puzzled if an engineer designed this technique and thought it made excellent sense, however forgot that common customers must undertake it. Or possibly the Drive devs forgot that PCs and Macs exist, and thought everybody has entry to a Chromebook with a quick web connection on a regular basis. It may be a conspiracy principle to discourage the utilization of non-Google Docs/Sheets/Slides recordsdata in Drive, as a result of these recordsdata are essentially the most affected once they’re inside shared folders.

Replace 1: 2020/04/10 3:15am PDT by Rita El Khoury

Workaround, Google shares longterm plan

Due to feedback from our readers and enter from Google’s Remy Burger, this publish has been up to date to reword and make clear a couple of factors, particularly concerning file possession and penalties for corporations and G Suite customers. Remy additionally shared with us a workaround and the Drive crew’s longterm plan.

First, you may nonetheless transfer shared recordsdata and folders to your Drive, even on the net (no want for the Android app), however the choice is hidden behind a keyboard shortcut. Go to your Shared with me part, spotlight the shared recordsdata or folders you need to transfer, and sort Shift+Z in your keyboard. You may see the previous transfer menu and might select the place to place these folders. In your PC, they will sync and behave like they used to, no shortcut mess. Extra data may be discovered right here, and you’ll at all times sort ? in Drive to convey up the listing of keyboard shortcuts should you overlook this one.

Shift+Z brings up the previous Transfer menu, letting you add shared folders to your Drive.

Lastly, Remy revealed that the Drive crew will “preserve this conduct [Shift+Z] round for folders till we’ve a strong resolution to sync shared folders.” I feel that helps appease our collective fears in regards to the change. As I discussed earlier within the publish, a whole lot of points can be solved as soon as Google’s Backup and Sync began recognizing shortcuts as folders and synced them as such. You may nonetheless want to elucidate to others how the change impacts the place recordsdata “are” and the way sharing privileges may be revoked in the event that they transfer a file out inadvertently, however the bulk of our complaints about this new system will likely be gone. Hopefully, Google figures out an answer for syncing shared folders rapidly.

About Rita El Khoury

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