Google drive: Shortcuts replacing files and folders stored in multiple locations

I got a notification from Google that “Google Drive will simplify your file and folder structures by replacing files and folders included in multiple locations with shortcuts.”

I think this will completely break my use case because I have a database on GoogleDrive. If two file happen to have the same name and contents in different folders they will get linked?

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Hey @nop_head,

It seems like there’s a possibility since it’s Google’s call to change the way these use cases work in the future. I’ll check this out with our engineers.

For reference, this is their documentation on said upcoming changes:

Yes it says “If you use Backup & Sync, the replacement process will only start once you have migrated to Drive for Desktop”. I have never used Drive for Desktop. When backup and sync stopped working I switched to Insync.

Looks like I will have to set up my own server to replace Googledrive.

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We’ve discussed with our engineer-in-charge to test the Drive shortcuts in the current projects cycle and assess how we can meet with our users halfway to reduce the impact as best as we can. Thank you for your patience!

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I will add my own experience with this case :
I did get a folder A. Someone working with me created a folder B. To acces these files I did make a link to B, in my drive. Then the guy made a link of A in his folder B.
And with the “magical replacement from google”, my A folder in my drive is only a link, and to access my physical files i should go through my link to B to acces them (on the web)…

So, with insync, i did just install (version on manjaro), i couldn’t get a local copy of my files (for theses folder), and double click on the link in the app, open my web browser like it was a google document.
Could we get an option to get “offline access to files”, who will sync the files of a link, like in the official drive app ?

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Do you get any notification when your files get replaced by a link?

I have thousands of files that can’t be replaced by links. I need to stop using GoogleDrive if that happens.

One morning i did just get windows google drive app who said “some of your files was replaced by a link”. And i didn’t known what what it does mean (didn’t ear of a replacement, before).
I finished to follow a link in the notification, if i remember well, who brought me to the following help page :

I got a message today that some files had replaced by links but no indication which. I did a search on Drive for is:replaced and found it replaced two Google docs files 5 days ago. They are just files that were shared with me four years ago. I don’t really use Google docs, so if that is all it replaced I don’t care.

The change appeared in the My Drive Activity and has changed on my local copy but I can’t find any entry in the Insync activity log. I presume it must have been Insync that changed my local copy as I don’t run Google Drive for desktop.

Hi @nop_head,

Will forward this to our engineer! Do you mind sending your latest logs.db and out.txt files my way via email ( Please also specify in the email which two (2) Google docs got replaced. Thank you!

Is there any new release that is supposed to fix this ?
Insync deleted about 87GB of data after Google came up with the links. Now I uninstalled it and am using the google drive app.
Looking forward to the new release and fix

I don’t see how Insync can fix it. If Google replaces your files with links and they then only exist as links on Drive isn’t it correct for Insync to mirror that by replacing your local files with links? Isn’t that what the Google Drive app does?

Hi @eprifti,

While it is not an issue per se since this is a change on Google Drive’s end and we only mirror such changes, we are looking into ways and possibilities of adapting to these :slight_smile: We’re taking into consideration how Insync would sync those shortcuts since right now, we don’t support shortcuts/aliases/symlinks.

We will make sure to announce once we have a clearer direction to take. Thank you!

And thank you for your insight as well, @nop_head :slight_smile:

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No actually the google drive app works, I have access to the data as it syncs also what is behind the links. Insync could do the same :wink:

Not sure what you mean because I have never used the google drive app as I didn’t want Google taking over my machine. That is when I started using Insync on Windows. Before that I only used Insync for my Linux machine.

On my Win7 machine the two files Google replaced with links got changed to .gdlink files on my local drive. Presumably this must have been done by InSync. If I click on those in Explorer they open in Chrome and I can see the spreadsheets.

I assume you had shared files, rather than Google docs. Does the Google drive app extend your local file system so that the links appear as local files but are not actually on your machine?

Yes I have all sorts of files in my drive and besides google docs, all is synced and mirrored in my mac. And they arent when syncing through insync unfortunatelly which is a big issue for me.

Yes 99.0% of my files are normal files, not google docs. If Google ever replace those with links I will have to stop using it because I need them to be normal local files, synchronised between machines. Not something held in the cloud and made to look like a local file by the google app or even Insync. Presumably you can only see these file when you are online?

google drive app syncs them fine, but not insync thus the whole issue here :wink:

So they are links on the web version of Drive but the app still keeps local copies of the original file on your machines rather than links?

First. I can’t get why Google decided to spare storage for paying customers with this change and why they can’t let the paying customers decide how they want to store their files. This issue exists for files not just within one account, but shared files for other accounts which is the case of mine.

I have Insync licences since it rolled out, and few years ago I bought the Developers Plan, because it was able to resolve the “bridges” between my multiple accounts (many GDrives, many OneDrives). However I still should use another 3rd party app between the GD and OD, because of the removed symlink support (introduced in 2013, removed in v3). Now the shared folders and files are a similar drag, but more severe, because they had been changed by many accounts of mine and now their storage place are scattered (no, the selective ‘Shared with me’ feature doesn’t work for me since it syncs outside of the added folders).

Some days ago I lost a lot of important config files, because they silently became links only and the mess rolled through / around all my accounts with 100+ Gb. Now I have to figure out how they could be reverted from their who-knows-what-changed-since-then states of old backups. One by one.

This issue makes the Insync completely useless for me, unless the Developers bring up a solution that will be able to bypass this new unwanted behavior of GDrive. Thank you!