Google on Tuesday announced a planned update to the permissions window for its Docs, Drive, and Sheets apps that is designed to make sharing files less confusing. Now, when you click the share button, the box that pops up has a clear distinction between who the file is being shared with through a searchable directory of your contacts or co-workers and the permissions the link has.
The prior share window bundled both options together into the same window with a redundant copy link and “get shareable link” buttons as well as drop-down menus for changing the permissions from edit to comment to view. The update makes it clearer when you’re choosing who to share with, and then it requires you to click the permissions window to decide what those with access can actually do the file. There's also now a clearer distinction between sharing with individuals and sharing with groups.
Google says the goal here is to make it less confusing to share files with accidental permissions to reduce the risk of giving access to unwanted users. That’s been a growing concern at a time when remote work and virtual collaboration are at an all-time time and trolls and bad actors are trying to take advantage of the situation.
“Sharing files is critical to collaboration. This is especially true now, as more workforces are remote and collaborating on files from different locations. By making it easier to share files with specific people, we hope to improve collaboration while reducing the risk of access by unwanted users,” reads the company’s blog post. “We’ve made several changes to the sharing experience. These make it easier to perform common tasks, avoid accidental permission changes, and quickly see who has access to a file.”
Google says the update will have a gradual rollout of about two weeks starting on April 28th for G Suite enterprise customers on the rapid release cycle and about two weeks starting on May 26th for standard, scheduled release domains. The update will be available for G Suite customers and for those with personal Google accounts, the company says.