Over the past few years, users have been receiving spam in Google Drive – files that are shared with them that they didn’t ask for from people they don’t know. Until now, the company hasn’t really had a solution to this, but now, it’s implementing something that should help cut down on the abuse – at least, for now.
The ability to block another user in Google Drive will prevent strangers who have shared a file with you from doing so again in the future, but you can probably already see several problems with this. First, you have to receive a spam file from someone before you know who they are in order to block them. Second, spammers can simply make new email addresses once they’ve been blocked and then continue to send crap to you.
This fix is certainly temporary, and it gives me the same impression as the National Do Not Call Registry – it’s effective, but it doesn’t account for simple workarounds and social engineering tactics. To be fair, it’s nearly impossible to overcome such abuse, and if anyone does think of something clever, it will be Google…eventually.
To block a user in Drive, just right-click a shared file and choose ‘Block’. Thereafter, the user the file originated from will no longer be able to share any new files with you, nor will they appear in your Drive. Oh, and any files you’ve previously shared with that person (assuming it’s not a spammer, and just someone you no longer wish to associate with) will no longer be visible to them either.
Google states that you can’t block users within your own domain, for obvious reasons, and if you do block someone, it’s actually a Google Services-wide block. That’s right, it shuts them out of your digital life across all Google services, which is awesome. This means you won’t be receiving any spam Photos, Keep notes, or Calendar invites from them whatsoever.
All Google Workspace users (Rapid and Scheduled Release domains), as well as all G Suite users and even users with personal Google Accounts will benefit from this update over the next two weeks as it rolls out. Spam and abusive content is a serious problem to which this is a temporary solution, but I look forward to learning about what Google has planned next to combat it. Let me know in the comments if you’ve experienced these issues over the past few years, and how you’ve handled them.