Google Gripe #6 – Adding new users to Groups and pre-existing Group shares not showing

Gripe 6 Drive and Groups Share

Google GripE #6: Location of Incoming Shares to new Group Member

Sharing documents/folders in Google Drive is made much more convenient and easy by proper use of Google Groups.  And since you can even import/sync you groups from Active Directory, a lot of the work may already be done in your organisation.

However, there’s a catch.

Problem: If you’ve shared a document/folder (or, many documents/folders..) with the Group already – and THEN you add a user to the Group, that new user will NOT see the shares for the Group in their “Incoming” folder in Drive.

In any situation where you are dealing with sharing things with people, the Incoming folder is always where you’re wise to go to see what’s shared with you (the “Incoming” folder is named “Shared with me” in the older version of Google Drive).

So the new user has no idea that the file is shared with them (there’s no “notify user” if all you’ve done is add them to a group) and there’s no way for them to know the name of any of the shared items to search for.


The current popular “workaround” is – Add the new user to the Group, then unshare the document/folder with the Group and reshare it. Obviously this isn’t an ideal solution when you talking about hundreds/thousands of documents/folders/users.

Another “workaround” is to use a common practice of utilizing a “service account”(there’s not really such a thing in Google Apps, but for all intents and purposes you can create one – just don’t associate it with a user) to create the top-level shares.  This way the shares never change even in the event of staffing changes.  Next, create a list of  links to the top level shares and make the list available to all of your users.  Essentially, you’re creating a sort of “directory” of top level folders.  This isn’t ideal either as it seems like it should be a completely unnecessary step and requires the maintenance of the list – and a way to share it with all users online.  You’re now sending people to a static web page rather than directly to their Google Drive as would be more efficient.

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