Google is introducing a new sharing feature for G Suite Drive users in the next few weeks via a public beta.
The G Suite blog published a post yesterday outlining a new feature that allows users to share folders in shared drives. Currently, Drive users can either give access to an entire drive or share individual files to other users, but the new feature will let drive managers give access to specific folders.
The idea is to make collaboration with external third parties, colleagues in different teams or different levels of management easier without having to give broad drive permission. Google included some examples of how the new feature could be deployed.
“For a marketing department, you can have a shared drive accessible by all internal employees, with a specific folder for advertising materials that’s also accessible to an external agency.
“For a sales department organized by region, you can have a shared drive that enables team managers and directors to see all activity, with regional teams only able to see the information relevant to their specific area of focus in a shared folder. “
Google makes it clear that folders can only be shared by managers of the shared drive, whilst other levels of access (content manager and commenter, for example) can’t because “they are not allowed to control broad access to content”.
When it comes to moving files or folders within a drive, or between shared drives, inherited and direct access will be preserved, Google says. However the act of moving folders between shared drives is reserved for users who are managers “on both the original as well as the target location”.
These new permissions and sharing changes are only available to paid G Suite Business, Enterprise, Education, Enterprise for Education and Nonprofits users – G Suite Basic users and personal Google accounts are not eligible. Anyone interested in testing out the new feature can sign up for the beta here.
This is a big change for Google’s flagship commercial product and comes at a time when the world is increasingly reliant more on collaborative tools as people work remotely in lockdown.
In an interview with Axios in March, G Suite boss Javier Soltero revealed that Google’s suite of products – which includes Gmail, Hangouts, Drive, Photos and lots of other apps – has a user base of two billion, although Soltero didn’t disclose how many of those pay a monthly subscription.
Last year Google said it had four million businesses using G Suite in 2018, but it’s still far behind the 200 million monthly active Microsoft Office 365 commercial users.