Google Docs, Drives, Sheets, Slides users: Sharing files just got easier and more secure

Google puts permissions controls at the center of its new interface for sharing documents.

Google overhauls interface for sharing documents

Google has redesigned the interface for Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms on the web to make it easier to share files with contacts and to control permissions.

While the redesign is not specifically to help remote workers collaborating during coronavirus pandemic restrictions, Google argues that sharing files is especially critical now due to how many organizations are collaborating while physically apart. 

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"Sharing files is critical to collaboration. This is especially true now, as more workforces are remote and collaborating on files from different locations. By making it easier to share files with specific people, we hope to improve collaboration while reducing the risk of access by unwanted users," Google explains

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The new interface for sharing files and managing members of shared drives is meant to make it easier to collaborate with specific people without giving access to unintended recipients. 

A video demo shows how the new sharing dialog brings the users' attention to choices when sharing a file, changing permissions, and viewing file access. The new design also visually separates the choice between sharing with people and groups from the option to share a link. 

Google has added a 'copy link' button so that it's easier for users to get the link without changing link permissions. Controlling document permissions is an old problem, but the issue of link permissions has come into focus thanks to pranksters using publicly shared Zoom conference links to crash video meetings.      

Google promises the new interface should now make it clearer to the user who has current access to a document, which makes it easier for the user to quickly audit and change permissions. 

The new interface for sharing Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms files is available to all G Suite and Drive Enterprise customers. People with personal Google Accounts will get the new interface too. 

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Google is also working on a new feature for G Suite for schools that allows students and teachers to use Google Search to check Docs files for plagiarism, poor paraphrasing, and missed citations. 

The feature is in beta and matches new AI-powered features Microsoft recently rolled out to Word.  

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Google has revealed the new interface for sharing files from Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms on the web.

Image: Google
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Google shows how its new design for sharing files, top, contrasts with the old interface, bottom.

Image: Google