In an effort to streamline Google Drive and help optimize your storage space, Google is rolling out a feature that is sure to be divisive among its users. Soon, it will replace all of your files and folders stored in multiple locations with shortcuts.
Previously, you were able to store a single file or folder in multiple locations. For example, if you had a “Weekly Spending” spreadsheet, you were able to store it in a folder named “Personal Finance” as well as your “Yearly Budgeting” folder. Now, with these changes, the original version of that file will stay in one location, but you can put a shortcut to the document anywhere else in your Google Drive.
Google’s goal here is to “simplify your file and folder structures by replacing files and folders included in multiple locations with shortcuts.” These shortcuts should (hopefully) make it easier for you to navigate and find your important files and folders.
This replacement process will begin this year, and Google will give you a heads up a few weeks before it begins with your Drive. Google will make a replacement decision “based on original file and folder ownership, and will consider access and activity on all other folders to ensure the least possible disruption for collaboration.”
Neither folder ownership nor sharing settings will be affected by the change. The replacement process is automatic and there is no option to opt-out. If you’re unsure of how to use shortcuts within Google Drive, there is a handy Help page that walks you through it.
If you want to find a particular file or folder once the replacement process is complete, that’s not too tough, either. Simply open up Google Drive and type “is:replaced” in the search bar at the top of the page then press Enter. Of course, you can still move any remaining original files around as you see fit, and hopefully this change simplifies Google Drive for you.