Google announced two security updates for YouTube and Google Drive that will essentially break old links that were publicly shared with others. The changes might not be immediately noticeable, and they might impact users disproportionately, so it’s not something that most Google users need to worry about. But those people who happen to have access to lots of unlisted videos on YouTube, and plenty of files that were shared with them via Drive, should know that some of those links might stop working. Google gave users a month of notice, during which time you’ll be able to ensure that you either have access to particular YouTube clips and documents in Drive or that people you’re sharing content with can still access your links.
The changes are simple to understand. In YouTube, any video that’s set as Unlisted is protected from search results and won’t show up in suggestions. Google made changes in 2017 to prevent others from guessing links to Unlisted videos, and the new security update addresses Unlisted video shared before then.
Unlisted videos that were uploaded before 2017 will be set to Private starting on July 23rd. Creators will be able to keep the videos as they are or fill out a form to opt out of the change. And they could choose to make the videos public. Another option is having the video re-uploaded under the new rules and keep it Unlisted. Data associated with the original file might be impacted if the user decides to reupload the video: comments won’t transfer over, and old embed links will not work.
The following video shows what will happen to Unlisted YouTube videos next month:
Google addressed the Drive changes in a post on its Google Workspace Updates blog.
The security update is supposed to make files more secure by updating their links. This might have some direct consequences on access to specific files, so Google gives Drive users until July 23rd to make changes.
Drive sharing will make use of a resource key. People who have not accessed a file before the update will need to use a URL with that resource key in it, while everyone who accessed it before the security update rolled out will be able to view it.
While Google offers the same July 23rd deadline as YouTube, it applies differently to Drive. Until that date, Google Workspace admins will have to choose how the shared files in their organization are impacted by the new security change.
End-users will receive email notifications starting July 26th about the impacted files. They’ll have until September 13th to determine how the update is applied to their files. More details about how the Drive sharing security update will impact Google Workspace users are available in a support document at this link.
As for Drive users with personal files, they’ll get a notification about the impacted files on July 26th, and they’ll have to decide until September 13th how the update is applied.