Some users may have a surprise when they attempt to access a Google Drive link after September 13, 2021, the day the Google will roll out a security update to users. If you have never accessed a certain file before, and the file owner(s) have not opted-out of the update, a new URL containing a key will be required to access the file.
While Google states that this is a change to make link sharing more secure, it is obvious that not all users might welcome this change. The change will first roll-out to Workspaces. As an administrator, you can take action before July 23, 2021 to decide whether or not to enforce the link-change. By default admins opt-in, and their organization links will also be automatically updated. If, instead, an admin opts-out their organization’s members will be notified on July 26, 2021 to decide on whether or not they want to individually opt-out. The update will come into effect on September 13, 2021. Note that Admins can still change organization settings until the final deadline.
As a regular (free) user, you will receive the update notification July 26, at which point you may choose to opt-out before September 13, 2021. So, if you own a few files on Google Drive you made public, you should check whether you want to cancel the update, or replace all your links with the updated version. If no action has been taken, the update will be enforced on September 13, 2021, rendering some of your files inaccessible to users who haven’t accessed them prior to that date.
To learn more about the issue, you can read the blog post at https://workspaceupdates.googleblog.com/2021/06/drive-file-link-updates.html. This update comes following a similar change to make old unlisted YouTube videos private, which you can read more about below.