Soon, public links to countless numbers of items stored on Google drive and Youtube will stop working. In the name of increased security, Google is changing the way it handles link sharing on both services, and while active users can opt out of the change, abandoned files and videos on unused or inactive accounts may simply disappear. forever. .
That’s because shared links are now part of a newer system that Google says increases security. On YouTube, the most recent links are apparently more difficult for anyone to guess or access without explicitly having access to them. The new links also have the effect of linking more activity to specific accounts and forcing viewers to log in, making it possible to track access and become part of each user’s profile.
On YouTube, the changes will affect all videos that are public, but marked as “Unlisted”. As described in a blog post and five minute video, all unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 will have their status changed to Private from July 23. The Way Private Videos Work Now, which will remove any old links or integrations, and limit sharing to a maximum of 50 people, all of whom will need a Google account to view them.
For people who prefer to continue sharing their old unlisted videos with public links, embeds, and comments, they can opt out on a per-account basis by fill in this form over the next month. The only other option is to re-download those videos and leave them marked as unlisted.
Google Drive is undergoing the same change, as announced earlier today on the workspace updates blog. Clicking on a link to access files stored in the cloud will now include a resource key that determines who has and does not have access. If you have previously accessed a file (presumably while logged in to your Google Account), you will continue to have access to it, and if you have “direct access” it will continue to work.
If not, then you will need to make a request to access the file or folder. If you have a personal Google / Gmail account and are using Drive, you will receive an email after July 26 alerting you of any files that will be affected by this change. If your account includes links that will be affected, you will be able to opt out of the “security update” as long as you do so before September 13, 2021.
If you’re using a Google Workspace account managed by your employer, school, or other organization, it’s a little more complicated. The administrator / IT department can choose to opt out entirely, apply the update to everyone without the ability to opt out, or apply the update and allow individual users to remove it from specific files.