Google security changes to impact some old YouTube and Drive links: Learn how

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 09, 2021

Updates on YouTube will impact old links to 'Unlisted' videos


Google is implementing certain security changes that will impact certain old links on YouTube and Google Drive.


On YouTube, a security change will impact old links to 'Unlisted' videos created before January 1, 2017, after July 23, 2021.

Unlisted is a setting for videos that allow users to upload a video that can be viewed and shared by anyone with the link to that particular video, but doesn’t show up in search results or other tabs.

The tech giant had rolled out a security update to the system in 2017 that generates new YouTube Unlisted links with certain security enhancements making the videos even harder to discover.

It is now making changes to older Unlisted videos that were uploaded before that update took place. “As part of these changes, Unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 will be made Private starting on July 23, 2021,” it said in a blog post.

Creators will also have the option to opt-out of this security update and keep their videos in their current state if they prefer.

If users have a video that is impacted by this change, they will be notified directly. Impacted users will have the option to opt-out of this change, make their videos public or reupload an unlisted video before July 23, 2021.

They can also choose to not do anything and keep their video private. Google will set any Unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 to “Private” starting July 23. Private videos can only be seen by the users who upload them and the people they choose. Once these videos are made Private starting July 23, any link previously used to embed or share them as Unlisted will no longer work.

Users can fill out a form and opt-out of the change to keep their Unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 in their current Unlisted state.

“If you treat your Unlisted videos like Public videos (e.g. they’re embedded on third-party sites or shared on social media), we recommend you opt-out of this change. If you choose to opt-out, your existing links will continue working as they do today, but they won’t get the benefit of the security update,” it said.

If users choose to reupload their Unlisted videos, the data associated with the original upload, like views or comments, won’t transfer. Any embedded videos using the old link would also need to be updated to the new video URL, Google said.

The update will affect only videos uploaded before January 1, 2017.

Google Drive

On Drive, it is releasing a security update that will make Google Drive files more secure by updating their links. This may lead to some new file access requests.

“The update will add a resource key to sharing links. Once the update has been applied to a file, users who haven't viewed the file before will have to use a URL containing the resource key to gain access, and those who have viewed the file before or have direct access will not need the resource key to access the file,” it explained in a separate blog post.

“While we recommend that you apply the update, Google Workspace admins can choose how this update is applied in your organisation,” it added.

The change will impact admins and end-users.

Admins can use the Alert Centre to see how many users, folders, shared drives, and files are affected in their organisation. They will be able to see an alert with the subject “Security update for Drive” for impacted files.

They will be required to choose how the update is applied before July 23, 2021.

“For non-education customers, by default, the update will be applied and impacted end users will be notified, with the option to exclude their files from the update. For education customers, by default the update will be applied and impacted end users will be notified, without the option to exclude their files from the update,” Google said.

Starting July 26, 2021, depending on admin settings, impacted end users will get notified about impacted files and the choices they can make.

The update and the option chosen will be enforced for admins and end-users starting September 13, 2021.

For users with personal accounts who are not part of a Google Workspace domain, they will receive a notification from Google Drive to inform them of their impacted files starting July 26, 2021. Users will then have the option to remove the security update.

“These users will have until September 13, 2021, to determine how the update is applied to their files,” it said.

Published on June 24, 2021

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