Google Drive update will eliminate a frustrating file sharing problem

Google Drive
(Image credit: Google)

Google has announced an update for cloud storage service Drive that will make collaborating across businesses easier for all involved.

As described in a new blog post, Google Drive’s existing visitor sharing feature will now extend beyond the ability to give people without a Google account access to files.

As well as being able to view, comment on and edit Docs, Sheets and Slides, non-Google users will now be able to upload content to shared folders managed by Google Workspace customers too.

Google Drive compatibility

Although there are a few peripheral players, the productivity and office software market is pretty much dominated by two suites: Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. According to data collected recently on behalf of TechRadar Pro, the former is the chosen option for 58.2% of US businesses, while 15% opt for Google’s suite instead.

However, while healthy competition will benefit customers in the long term, problems can arise when businesses are required to collaborate with organizations that do not subscribe to the same software bundle.

To address this issue, both Microsoft and Google have made accommodations to limit the amount of friction customers face - and to make it easier to migrate between suites if businesses choose to change provider.

For example, Microsoft Word documents can be ported into Google Docs, and Google Slides can be downloaded in a format compatible with PowerPoint. Equally, the launch of visitor sharing for Google Drive eliminated a few barriers associated with sharing files across organizations.

However, the latest update takes the feature a step further, making it possible for external collaborators to upload files and create content within Google Drive, on top of the ability to access pre-existing documents.

The main caveat is that the new Google Drive functionality will not be available to all users. Although most paying customers will have access, the feature won’t be extended to those on Business Starter and Enterprise essentials plans, nor legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers.

Neither will the ability for non-Google users to contribute to shared Drive folders be available to personal accounts holders, whether they pay for a subscription or otherwise.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.