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Workaround, Google shares longterm plan)

Workaround, Google shares longterm plan)

Several weeks in the past, Google rolled out a change to Drive that allows you to create shortcuts to recordsdata and folders. The function had been in testing since August 2019, and its objective 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 if you transfer issues round. However, this seemingly benign enchancment has fully ruined shared folders for anybody who syncs Drive regionally to their PC or Mac.

Only 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 pals, workforce, 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 might be robotically switched to shortcuts for everybody besides the unique proprietor.

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

This article and the change it describes applies to individuals utilizing Google Drive and shared folders, be it on private Google accounts or G Suite ones. However, should you’re a G Suite person, Google recommends one thing fully completely different from fundamental shared recordsdata and folders, and which must be unaffected by this variation: 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 knowledgeable setting. You can get a brief clarification of the advantages in this dialogue I had with realtestman in our remark part under.

What’s altering on the internet

On the net, the change to shortcuts is merely aesthetic from a person’s perspective. As lengthy as you are on-line, clicking a acquired file or folder opens them such as you’re used to. However:

  • the choice to “Move” 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 kind Shift+Z in your keyboard, you have to be provided the outdated possibility to maneuver it to your Drive. See replace be aware on the finish of the publish.

Top: “Move” or “Add” to Drive is not attainable. You can solely 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 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 could possibly rapidly entry a shared file or folder from a number of locations inside your Drive with out duplicating them. Anyone who enjoys hierarchy and group will love this. File possession can also 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 on the firm’s documentation, this side appears to be the most important motivator behind the change.

Interesting unwanted effects

The one file equals one unique 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:

  • If you’re 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 not be yours nonetheless be yours nevertheless it will not be saved in your Drive. You’re nonetheless in command of entry privileges and may 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 not obeys to the rule of sharing from its guardian folder as a result of it is not there.

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

How this interprets to your pc

Now consider these recordsdata and folders that you just select to sync regionally to your pc. If you’ve gotten a PC or Mac, you in all probability use Google’s Backup and Sync to make some or your whole Drive straight 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 regionally. The former 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 internet, 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. Just to make certain, I turned off web entry, and opened the file. Everything labored. Any modifications I made have 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

However, take a look at that acquired folder. It’s a easy .gshortcut hyperlink. I am unable to open it like another 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 incontrovertible fact that it exhibits up as a shared shortcut in my file browser is all I get from it. It’s barely a reminder that there is a folder, someplace, that somebody shared with me.

When I am offline, that is what I see of the shared folder.

Note that this occurs although Backup and Sync is about as much as sync every thing on my PC. There’s no setting to sync shared folders, and even when I change to “Sync only these folders,” the shortcut folder would not present up within the record. It’s simply not acknowledged as a folder. The entire drawback would go away if it have been.

Now think about you are a member of a household, small workforce, 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 robotically within the background to their pc, 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 an area file from their pc into the shared folder — they can not do it from their file browser, which was attainable earlier than
  • additionally has to go to the Drive web site to maneuver a Drive file that they personal into that shared folder. But when the modifications sync regionally to their pc, that file, which was on their machine, is gone, poof, deleted. It’s solely accessible from that dang folder shortcut. On the net, it is clear that they are nonetheless the proprietor, however regionally, that would not issues little or no as a result of the file now belongs to a different construction. Edit: See the “Interesting side effects” part above for more information.

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

This 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 exhibits up in your pc, regardless should you’re the proprietor or recipient. All modifications sync. Everything is accessible offline.

Tedious workaround… and never even

The solely method I discovered to bypass this shared folder limitation on my PC was to open the folder in Google Drive internet and create particular person shortcuts for each file inside my Drive. That method 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 “alternative” in its documentation

The subject with this workaround, beside how tedious it’s to mainly 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 need to go and double examine issues now and again to verify 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 internet.

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

I may also make every thing obtainable offline, besides Google-type recordsdata (Docs, Sheets, Slides). That contains folders too. However, there’s one restriction: I am unable to transfer a file from my Drive or my pc into the shared folder shortcut. This was once attainable earlier than with common shared folders. I must go to Drive on the internet to add any file to this shared folder.

Top: Making a folder obtainable offline. Bottom: Can’t transfer a file to a shared folder shortcut.

Finally, if I attempt to transfer a file from inside a shared folder to my Drive, it creates a replica and retains the unique. You could recall that on the internet, it lets me transfer it however warns me that I am about to take entry away from different individuals.

Shush… Android nonetheless allows you to correctly transfer shared folders

It’s not a secret anymore, however if you wish to keep away from this silliness for the subsequent few months till September 2020, then I’ve a small tip for you. Moving shared folders correctly to your Google Drive remains to be attainable within the Android app. I am utilizing Drive v2.20.121.04 and it is there, nevertheless it might be eliminated in a later model, so here 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 be aware on the finish of the publish for the same resolution from the net.

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


The menu for shared recordsdata/folders nonetheless contains the “Move” possibility.

This allows you to replicate the outdated habits of shared recordsdata and folders. In the screenshots under, you’ll be able to 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 pc, with full native entry, and that is the way you circumvent the difficulty… quickly.

Left: Shared recordsdata and folders as shortcuts. Right: By utilizing the “Move” possibility, 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 could make recordsdata obtainable offline (whether or not Google-type or non-Google-type), however not folders — although you’ll be able to manually make all recordsdata inside a folder offline. Notice how that is completely different from Chrome OS, the place folders could be made offline, however Google-type recordsdata cannot. Each time I believe I am accomplished with the discrepancies, I uncover a brand new one.

You can 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 pc. You may also transfer recordsdata outdoors of a shared folder, however like on the internet, 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. Essentially, we went from “this is a folder, I shared it, done,” to a complicated mess and shortcut system that took me hours to untangle… and I believe I did not uncover all the problems but. It’s so complicated that initially we thought this entire state of affairs was a bug, however we reached out to Google which confirmed to us that that is anticipated habits.

Now think about having to clarify all of this to your loved ones or pals or workforce members (within the latter case, should you’re not utilizing Share Drives and File Stream): “Well, Joe, no, you’ll be able to’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 pc, it is a folder however not a folder. Just click on it. Yes, the file is there in Chrome (eye roll). Wait, Joe, did you progress the file out? Now everybody misplaced entry. Dammit Joe! Move it again. OK, now obtain it. I do know, it is senseless. Please do not contact something out of your pc or telephone. You have two days so as to add your division’s numbers into the sheet that you just downloaded. When you are accomplished, add the brand new model. I do know, it would not make sense both. Yeah, we’ll look into getting an Office 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.

Even although I perceive how issues are simpler on Google’s finish with this new strategy, the ramifications (although largely logical) are just too complicated. Layer after layer, I laughingly puzzled if an engineer designed this method and thought it made good sense, however forgot that common customers must undertake it. Or perhaps 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 concept to discourage the utilization of non-Google Docs/Sheets/Slides recordsdata in Drive, as a result of these recordsdata are essentially the most affected after they’re inside shared folders.

Google’s Remy Burger, this publish has been up to date to reword and make clear just a few factors, particularly relating to file possession and penalties for corporations and G Suite customers. Remy additionally shared with us a workaround and the Drive workforce’s longterm plan.

First, you’ll be able to nonetheless transfer shared recordsdata and folders to your Drive, even on the internet (no want for the Android app), however the possibility is hidden behind a keyboard shortcut. Go to your Shared with me part, spotlight the shared recordsdata or folders you need to transfer, and kind Shift+Z in your keyboard. You’ll see the outdated transfer menu and may select the place to place these folders. On your PC, they will sync and behave like they used to, no shortcut mess. More data could be discovered right here, and you may all the time sort ? in Drive to carry up the record of keyboard shortcuts should you neglect this one.

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

Finally, Remy revealed that the Drive workforce will “keep this behavior [Shift+Z] around for folders until we have a solid solution to sync shared folders.” I believe that helps appease our collective fears concerning the change. As I discussed earlier within the publish, quite a 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’ll nonetheless want to clarify to others how the change impacts the place recordsdata “are” and the way sharing privileges could be revoked in the event that they transfer a file out inadvertently, however the bulk of our complaints about this new system might be gone. Hopefully, Google figures out an answer for syncing shared folders rapidly.

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