Google Drive security update could leave some file links broken

Google is changing the way it generates Drive file links for sharing.

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PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 14: In this photo illustration, the logos of the applications, YouTube, Google Earth, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Hangouts, Google, Gmail, Chrome, Drive, Google Earth, and Chrome are displayed on the screen of an iPhone on December 14, 2020 in Paris, France. A global bug has affected Google services since midday. An unprecedented incident: most Google services, including YouTube and Gmail messaging, experienced a major global outage on Monday, December 14 at midday. Google indicated on its dashboard accessible online that all its services were affected, and this for "the majority of users". (Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)
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A lot of old Google Drive links may become inaccessible by mid-September: The tech giant has announced that it's rolling out an update that would make sharing Drive files more secure. After the update goes out on September 13th, Drive will add a resource key to links generated for sharing. So what does that mean for old links already distributed in the workplace or online? Well, those who've viewed the link before the changes take place can continue accessing it. However, those who haven't will need the resource key to access the file.

Workspace admins will have until July 23rd to decide how the security update will be applied to their organization. They can choose to apply it with limitations or to opt out altogether. Meanwhile, personal users will get a notification about the change starting on July 26th and will have until September 13th to decide. They can also choose not to apply the update, but Google makes it clear in its notice that the option isn't recommended. The company suggests not applying the update only to files posted publicly.

In addition, Google will also roll out changes for YouTube that could break a bunch of older links. YouTube has a security measure that makes links to unlisted videos hard to find for people they weren't shared with, but it didn't come out until 2017. Starting on July 23rd, all unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 will be made private unless users opt out.

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