Like everything, the Internet has its highs, such as cute cats and lows, or spammers, trolls, and abusers. Many of us avoid these people, although it is easier to do so on some platforms than on others. Here’s some good news: If you’re having trouble dealing with these types of people, Google Drive will now allow you to block them.
In the new Google Workspace update released this week, the company admitted that although Google Drive is designed to allow people to store, share, and collaborate from anywhere, criminals may abuse the sharing features of the product. This is why Google decided to create a way for people to block other users, even if they have previously granted them access to your content.
“User blocking will not only preserve Drive sharing’s helpfulness but most importantly preserve the safety of Drive users,” Google wrote in a blog post.
In addition, Google stated that blocking users on Drive will also prevent them from interacting with you on other apps and services.
The new blocking feature will allow users to prevent others from sharing content with them in the future. If other users “has a history of sending spam or abusive content.” Google says this may be useful. It also allows people to delete all existing files and folders on the Drive shared by the offending user, allowing them to delete spam and abusive content immediately. Finally, as mentioned above, this feature will allow users to revoke other people’s access to your content.
To block someone, open Drive and right-click the file, which will open a menu of options. In this menu, click Block (User), and then click Lock Window. If you change your mind, you can also unblock someone.
As 9to5Google pointed out, spam on Google Drive has been a problem for many years. This is because people can share files with anyone on the platform as long as they have an email address (file sharing does not require permission from others). Although there is a “Remove” button in Drive, it does not delete shared files, it just hides them, which means they can still appear in search results and other areas.
At first glance, it may not look like much, but it can be very uncomfortable or even dangerous. In recent years, a user complained that he still had access to shared folders owned by his abusive ex-boyfriend, and reported that he felt a “lack of control, the ability to not be able to remove myself from this content—from this person.” Yes, this is definitely not a good feeling.
The search giant announced this new feature in May. A previous Buzzfeed news report highlighted an instance where users cannot delete the shared folders of abusive former partners from their Drives. Since the folder contains harmless photos, Drive’s existing “Report Abuse” feature is not an appropriate response, otherwise, the design of the service makes it difficult to delete files permanently.
According to Google’s support page, if a user right-clicks a file they shared with you in Drive, an option to block the user will appear. If you change your mind, you can also choose to unblock the user later. This is an important acknowledgment that bad guys can easily abuse the sharing function, even if they are part of a non-traditional social network service.