Fifteen years after the launch of Google Docs and Sheets with file sharing, Google is adding what sounds like adequate security controls to this feature. Google Drive (a file storage interface containing document, spreadsheet and slide files) finally get spam folder and algorithmic spam filters like in Gmail. It looks like the update will provide a way to restrict incredibly safe Behavior that allows random people to add files to your Drive account without your consent or control.
Since Google has essentially turned Drive file sharing into email, Google Drive needs all the anti-spam protection that Gmail has. Anyone with your email address can “share” a file with you, and a bunch of spammers already have your email address. In the past, Drive assumed that all shared files were legitimate and wanted, with the only “control” being “security through obscurity” and the hope that no one else knew your email address.
Drive shows all shared files in the shared documents folder, notifies you about sharing on your phone, highlights “new recent file” at the top of the Drive interface, lists the file in the search results, and sends you an email about it, all without any indications that you are familiar with file hosting at all. For years, some people in my life have been inundated with shared Google Drive files containing porn, ads, dating scams, and malware. For a long time, there was nothing you could do to support affected users other than turn off Drive notifications, ask them to ignore the highlighted porn ads at the top of their Drive account, and warn them never to click on the Shared Files folder. . (sorry mom)
Google acknowledged the problem in 2019 after Like a geek The report follows a woman who was unable to stop her abusive ex-husband from sharing files with her via Drive. In 2021, Google added the first file sharing control to Drive, which made it possible to block individual users. That’s fine for the abusive people you know in real life, but it’s nothing in the face of anonymous spammers who can spin up thousands of accounts in a second. At least Google was doing something after ignoring the issue for years.
As for the spam folder, it looks like Google is finally implementing the Gmail-style spam controls needed on day one. A Google blog post states: “Similar to how the spam folder works in Gmail, automatic qualifiers will redirect files that Drive considers junk to the spam folder. You can also manually move Disk, Documents, Spreadsheets, Slides, Sites. , and generates files in and out of the spam folder. If a file is in the spam folder for more than 30 days, it will be permanently deleted from Drive.”
Now there are only two obvious missing features: the ability to restrict sharing to your Gmail contacts (shouldn’t that be the default?) and the ability to disable sharing entirely. Google says the controls will start rolling out this month.
List image Google Drive