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Google rolls out file locking for Workspace customers

Google rolls out file locking for Workspace customers


Google Workspace customers will be able to lock files so that nobody — no matter their level of access — can add edits, comments, or suggestions to a Drive document.

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The Google Drive logo on a background of geometric shapes in various shades of blue.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google is rolling out a new feature to Google Workspace customers: the ability to lock Google Drive files.

While a file is locked, no one with any level of access can make edits, comments, or suggestions; essentially, it’s in read-only mode until you unlock it. The company wrote in a blog post announcing the change that file locking started rolling out to Rapid Release domains yesterday and will do so over the next 15 days, while those on Scheduled Release domains will start seeing it on September 20th, also with a 15-day rollout period.

Restricting a file in Google was already something you could do with the Google Drive API or through file approvals — a similar feature that lets you, say, request approval for a draft that’s locked from edits for everyone, no matter whether they’ve got editor access. The key difference here appears to be that you can lock the file at any time simply by right-clicking it, going to File information, and selecting “Lock.”

Google has added plenty of features to Workspace, like Duet AI, which brings AI assistance to its office work suite (though that will cost you now), or more mundane features like native eSignature support. The company has done a lot to its productivity products lately as it scrambles to catch up with Microsoft, particularly in the AI space.

But sometimes, simple features like file locking add the most satisfaction. After all, how many times have you wanted to do something to a file that you know should be possible, easy even, yet in 2023, you have to go through some convoluted process to make it happen?