A notification will appear on your phone: “Click here for hot XXX action!”
It’s Google Drive again. Someone shared a document with that title and now your phone is begging you to look at it. Even if you prohibit Google Drive from generating phone notifications, you will still receive emails. If you block the emails, you should see the spam when you click on the “Shared” section of Google Drive. The problem is that Drive document sharing was made without spam management tools† Anyone who gets their hands on your email is considered a key sharer of valid documents, and there’s nothing you can do about it so far.
Google officially acknowledged the issue in 2019, and the company said it was making spam checks “a priority.” Now, more than two years later, Google is finally rolling out the most basic spam tools for Google Drive sharing: you can block individual email addresses! The company announced this feature in May, but the tool will be rolled out to users over the next 15 days. Soon, once the spam has arrived in your Google Drive, you will be able to click the menu button next to the item and choose ‘block user’.
Sharing Drives works just like email spam. Anyone can share a Drive file with you if they know your address. Documents shared with you will still automatically appear in your Drive collection without your permission. There’s no way to disable sharing, restrict sharing to approved users, or restrict sharing to existing contacts. It’s free for everyone.
It’s just like email, but while Gmail has a lot of spam checks, Drive had very few of them in the past. Gmail gets AI-powered, Google-side filters for obvious scams, a “spam” inbox for questionable items, and advanced filtering rules anyone can write. Drive has been an unchecked mess of spam for some users for years, and the only solution was to use the entire service less and stop sending emails and notifications.
With the new feature, blocking a user prevents them from sharing content with you, removes all shared items between you and the blocked person, and blocks them in several other Google services. The ability to block individual email addresses is a start, but it’s clear that any spammer can just create a new account and get around this solution quickly. Since Google Drive has made sharing protection work just like email, it seems that nothing less than extensive email-like checks (or a list of allowed sharing) will solve the problem.
As with regular email spam, some people get a lot of it and others very little, depending on who has your email address. For people touched by Google Drive spammers, it was very frustrating that they had almost no way to stop it. This feature gives at least some control†
Listing image by Google Drive