Google has announced that the old links to content on YouTube and Google Drive will stop working next month, leaving them inaccessible to all users unless their creators take certain steps. Although it must be clarified that these files will not be deleted , although they will no longer be accessible.
YouTube and Drive allow you to share content with other users without making it public. To do this, they generate a unique link that we can send to whoever we want; only people with that link will be able to view the video or file. It is a way of sharing things between small groups of people, such as families or work teams. On YouTube, these videos are called “Hidden” , because they never appear on the cover and cannot be found with the search engine.
Now, Google is changing the way these private links are created and managed, in an attempt to make them more secure and prevent them from being found by chance. In Drive, it has implemented a new system, and in YouTube, the links are generated with another method since 2017.
However, there are still millions of links that use the old, potentially insecure system. To force your conversion to the new method, Google has announced that it will block all links generated before 2017 on Drive and YouTube. These links will stop working and will no longer lead to the original content; On YouTube, videos will be made private and can only be viewed by their creator.
The problem is that, with this change, Google is going to break millions of links, which will no longer lead anywhere; and if we have embedded the video in a web page, it will disappear .
On YouTube, all solutions involve user action. We can change the link to “Public” if we want it to remain accessible, but will be seen by everyone; or we can also re-upload the same video , marking it again as “Hidden” so that a new link is generated, but this method loses data such as the number of views.
The last option is to reject the change, entering our channel identifier on this page , accepting the risk that we will use an insecure system and the video could be found.
In Drive, it is somewhat more complicated. If we have already clicked on the link, we can continue accessing the file from our account; also if we have received “direct access” to the file. But if the files are part of an organization, then it is the administrator’s job to go into the alert center and decide what will happen to them.
The changes will be applied on July 23, 2021 , so it should not be surprising if that day we discover that some videos and files have disappeared.