Upcoming Google Drive Security Update Could Break Many Of Your Links

Google Drive
Google is getting ready to roll out an update that will ultimately make Google Drive files more secure, but the added peace of mind comes at a cost to Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers. Not a financial one mind you (the update is itself is free), but in the form of potentially broken links.

The crux of the update is the addition of a resource key to shared links, which will make publicly viewable links more secure. At the same time, it will make those same links inaccessible to people who do not have the key. This could be frustrating if stumbling upon a link in a forum or some place else that has not been updated.

There is an exception, though. Anyone who has viewed the link in the past will not need a resource key.

"Once the update has been applied to a file, users who haven't viewed the file before will have to use a URL containing the resource key to gain access, and those who have viewed the file before or have direct access will not need the resource key to access the file," Google explains.

That should alleviate some of the potential headaches that will inevitably follow, though not all of them. It is not realistic to think that every single Google Drive link will be updated with a resource key by their respective owners, in all corners of the web. So, there are going to be a lot of dead links in the wild once this takes effect.

Admins who are worried about broken links within their organization can opt out of the Google Drive security update. This is not Google's preferred path, though. If going that route, Google would prefer if admins only opted out of applying the update to files they want to be publicly accessible, rather than all of them.

"Unless the admin chooses to opt their organization out of the security update, end users who own or manage impacted files will receive an email notification starting July 26, 2021 with their impacted files. End users will have until September 13 to determine how the update is applied to their files, if permitted by their admin," Google adds.

If you've posted any publicly accessible Google Drive links, keep an eye out for the aforementioned email and, when the time comes, do the web community a solid and update any affected URLs that you have posted.