As with all things, the internet has its high points, such as adorable cats, and its low points, or spammers, trolls, and people who share abusive content. Many of us avoid these individuals, though it’s easier to do on some platforms than on others. Here’s some good news: If you’re having trouble with these kinds of folks, Google Drive will now let you block them.
In a new Google Workspace update published this week, the company acknowledged that while Google Drive aims to let people store, share, and collaborate from anywhere, the product’s sharing capabilities can be abused by bad actors. That’s precisely why Google decided to create a way for individuals to block other users, even if they had previously given those users access to their 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 said that blocking a user on Drive will also block them from interacting with you on other apps and services.
The new blocking feature will allow users to block others from sharing any content with them in the future, which Google says can be helpful if another user “has a history of sending spam or abusive content.” It will also allow individuals to remove all the existing files and folders in their Drive shared by the offending user, thereby allowing them to get rid of the spam and abusive content all at once. Lastly, as mentioned above, the feature will allow users to revoke another person’s access to their content.
To block someone, open up Drive and right click on a file, which opens up the options menu. In that menu, click Block (user) and then Block in the window. In case you ever change your mind, you can also unblock someone.
As noted by 9to5Google, spam on Google Drive has been a problem for years. This is because individuals can share files with anyone on the platform—sharing files does not require the other person’s permission—as long as they have an email address. Although there is a “remove” button in Drive, this does not delete the shared files, but simply hides them from view, meaning they can still show up in search results and other areas.
It might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it can be very uncomfortable or even dangerous. One user in recent years complained that they still have access to a shared folder owned by their abusive ex-boyfriend and reported feeling a “lack of control, the ability to not be able to remove myself from this content—from this person.” Yeah, definitely not a good feeling.
Google said it began gradual rollout of the blocking feature, which will be available to all Google Workplace customers, G Suite Basic customers, Business customers, and users with personal Google accounts, on Thursday. It originally announced the feature in May.