How Google Drive Attachments Should Work in Gmail

Today, for the first time, I tried to attach a document in Gmail using Google Drive, since it was too big to be sent as a normal attachment.

Image of the button for inserting files with Google Drive in Gmail.

These are the steps I followed:

  1. I clicked “Insert files with Drive”.
  2. I dropped the concerned file in the window that opened and clicked “Upload”.
  3. I sent the email.

So far so good, but the strange thing was what happened after that:

Picture of the email requesting me to give the recipient access to the uploaded attachment

  1. I received an email asking me to give the recipient access to the attachment.
  2. The system refused saving the recipient to the list of users with access to the attachment.

Steps 5 is obviously not supposed to be there but what surprised me was that step 4 happened at all. The more logical way would be to grant the recipient instant access to the attachment, especially when the recipient uses Gmail (as she did in my case).

How it should work:

  1. You click “Insert files with Drive”.
  2. You select the file(s) you want to attach and click “Upload”.
  3. You send the email.
  4. The recipient clicks a link in the email and is given instant access to the file you uploaded.

That would put the Drive attachments on par with normal attachments, with the extra bonus of being able to send larger files.

Privacy concerns

Any file already present on your Drive, with a higher degree of security should of course keep that security level, requiring the recipient to log in – but in that case the recipient should automatically be added to the list of people who can access the file since the whole point with attaching the document was to give the recipient access to it.

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