Collaborating with Non-Google Workspace Users

Collaboration is a big factor in Google Workspace, both within the organization and without. You can control how documents are shared externally within the Admin Console under Apps > Google Workspace > Drive and Docs > Sharing Settings, and typically Staff members are permitted to share outside the organization. But what happens when the people you’re sharing drive files don’t have Google Accounts?

First off, Google has set up multiple indicators to the person sharing the file that the individual they are attempting to share with doesn’t have a Google Account. When an email address is entered in the Share dialog, rather than having the person’s avatar or the first letter of their name, a graphic of an envelope shows up.

Google Workspace users will soon be able to invite Non-Google Workspace users to collaborate on files as visitors

Next, users see a confirmation that the recipient does not have a Google Account and tells them what will happen. Anyone who receives the generated link within the next 14 days will be able to claim the invitation. Each time a new user uses the invitation link, they are granted access to the document and permanently added to the individuals that the file is shared with, as shown below.

Revoking access to the invitation will prevent any new users from using it to gain access to your files while maintaining access to those previously granted access. If the invitation permission is not revoked within 14 days, it will automatically expire.

This is the current workflow, however, Google is working on a new method based on using a PIN code to access the document you are sending over. This new feature is presently in the Beta stages, and the announcement link and links to apply can be found here. One benefit of the new method is that external users will no longer be required to have a Google account in order to collaborate on documents. This also will help keep the Access control list limited to those who need access.  

Managing and keeping YouTube settings in check

Based on the content shared in the announcement, each user will have their unique PIN, and the avatar indicating their location within the doc will be just the first initial of the email address. The revocation of users PIN access will be in the share dialog as we have become accustomed to for traditional Google Workspace users. 

This feature will require the Google team to whitelist a non-Google Workspace domain that you would like to share with frequently. The Beta will include an experience for both the sender (a Google Workspace domain) and the recipient (a non-Google Workspace domain). Apply to join Pincode Sharing in Drive Beta by filling out this Google form.

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  • Stephen Gale
    Technical Support Analyst

  • About the Author:

    Stephen lives in Utah and enjoys the puzzle of investigating users’ problems and finding potential solutions. A recovering/reformed Gamer, Stephen throws himself into his passion for staying on top of all things Chrome OS and Chromebook related. Prior to joining Amplified IT, Stephen served as a Network Admin in a Therapeutic Boarding School and an IT director, where he implemented Google Workspace for Education. Stephen has studied computer science and security at Weber State University, Western Governors University. A self-anointed honor, Stephen likes Chromebooks more than almost anyone else in the world.