An upcoming Google security update could break scores of links to YouTube videos and Google Drive files. Starting next month, the Google is changing the way it handles link sharing of older content as a way of enhancing security.
Four years ago, the video sharing platform rolled out security enhancements that make it harder to discover links to Unlisted videos—which can be viewed and shared by anyone with the link, but don’t show up in search results. Now, YouTube is revamping videos uploaded before Jan. 1, 2017 and setting them to Private instead of Unlisted starting July 23.
“If you have a video that is impacted by this change, we’ll notify you directly,” the YouTube Team wrote in a blog post, alerting folks that they must take one of four steps within the next month. Active users can, of course, opt out of the change; simply complete an online form requesting to keep pre-2017 Unlisted videos in their current state (without the benefit of Google’s security update). Alternatively, you could make Unlisted videos public or reupload clips as new Unlisted content.
The final option—”do nothing”—ensures that early Unlisted videos will be set to “Private,” and any link previously used to embed or share them will no longer work. Which, as The Verge pointed out, could be problematic for content left on unused or inactive accounts.
“We understand that this change may be challenging, so we’re giving you time to make adjustments to your videos before it takes effect on July 23, 2021,” the blog said. “These videos are not new and therefore receive less traffic, which we hope will minimize disruption. … We encourage YouTube creators to review their older Unlisted videos and choose the privacy setting that’s right for them.”
A similar security update affects some files in Google Drive “to make sharing links more secure,” according to a Google Workspace Updates post, which warned of new access requests for those who haven’t viewed the file before.
Workspace administrators, encouraged to choose how the security update is applied before July 23, can track which users, folders, shared drives, and files are affected within their organization. Assuming the firm doesn’t choose to opt out, end users who own or manage impacted files will receive an email starting July 26, and have until Sept. 13 to determine how to implement the change.
Personal account holders can also expect a notification from Google Drive regarding their impacted files, and will have the same 19-day timeframe to comply.