Anonymous upload with Google Apps Drive

How it should be

In theory, it’s simple. Go to “Share” then select:

  1. Visibility: Anyone with the link
  2. Access: Can edit

In practice, it won’t work.

  • First, because this is a folder, not a file. Google Drive doesn’t allow public access to a folder; you must connect with a Google Account. It looks like a bug they are not even aware of.
  • Second, because this is Google Apps, not Google Drive. You must authenticate when accessing Google Apps, even if you set the folder accesses to public — with company credentials on top of that, your regular Google Account won't suffice. Once again, I suspect this is a bug they are not even aware of.

Don’t believe me? Try uploading here.

Workarounds

From simpler to harder:

  1. The “Google is everywhere” way. Ask your partner if it has a Google Account. If yes, just share the folder and you’re done. You seriously thought it would be that easy? Dream on.
  2. The “I’ve got room to spare” way. Create “partners accounts” (like partners@example.com). If you don’t have the old “50 accounts for free” plan or a non-profit edition, this will be a… painful option. And hope they don’t already use a Google account, or else you will have to explain them how to activate multiple account or the incognito mode. Simple, they said… Plus, you will have to deal with "partner A will see stuff from partner B" joy (if only there was a write-only option…
  3. The “Clumsy geek” way. Use InSync for its multiple-accounts feature, connect a personal account and a Google Apps account, create a “public symlink” (a folder that is actually a symbolic link; use Symlink Creator or PowerShell on Windows to create it) pointing to the local Google Apps accounts. Problems are manyfold: the computer must be online all day (and must not be a Linux box, since there is no client for Linux), the syncings will takes much longer (sync to the computer then upload again to the Google Apps account) and you will need to handle two Google accounts, one not even a professional one that you can administer from your dashboard. Plus, Insync has its own problems. On the bright side, it is transparent for the partner.
  4. The “I’ve got money” way. Buy a box.net business account ($15/user/month). Box.net’s business accounts allow anonymous uploads. But then you’ll have to handle two different platform (and to pay).
  5. The “No-nonsense” way. Use file transfer services like yousendit (or plain email if files are small enough). This won’t be a seamless experience, but at least it will work.
  6. The “I’ve got connections” way. Find someone who has Google’s ears and ask them to fix anonymous upload on Google Apps folders.

Now, this is the time when PunKeel should tell me something like Ubuntu one does it for free. Or maybe not!

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