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Upcoming changes to Google Drive integration (POSTPONED)

I was able to successfully pass the verification process, so for the time being, no changes will occur. It is still uncertain what will happen next year. If my application does not require the expensive security assessment (as it should be considered just a "local client application" according to their documentation), then there may be no issues. Otherwise direct access will no longer be possible.


Last year, Google announced that it was revamping it's security policies in regards to third party access to its services such as gmail and Google Calendar. In order for developers to have full access to these services, they had to undergo a $15,000 - $75,000 security assessment to ensure they were handling user data correctly. This actually caused a lot of small companies to shut down. At first, Google Drive was not included in this list as it was slated for fall of 2019. Google Drive was also being handled a little differently - full access was at first considered "sensitive", meaning you still had to go through a verification process with Google, but the $15k-$75k assessment from an outside company was not required. Starting in the spring of 2020, full access would then change to "restricted", requiring that expensive assessment. 

I was notified recently that I had to undergo the verification process and complete it by October 28th, otherwise users would be presented with an "unverified apps" warning (https://support.google.com/cloud/answer/7454865?hl=en) and after 100 new users, access to Google Drive would be denied. I have tried to go through this verification process with Google, but they were unhelpful, demanded that I provide proof of things that didn't make sense, and provided no answers to my questions. As such, I'm not going to be able to pass the verification process, meaning direct integration with Google Drive is no longer possible. There was no way I would be able to pay for the expensive security assessment next year, so this was going to happen regardless.

What does this mean for me as a user?

MobileSheetsPro will no longer be able use its own file browser to access Google Drive and select files. Instead, it will have to go through another application such as the standard file picker on Android 5.0+. This file picker will allow files to be picked through Google Drive if the Google Drive app is installed as shown below (you'd have to tap "Drive" on the left hand side):

One downside to this approach is that, when selecting a library backup file to restore, the file will have to be completely downloaded with no progress indication (as none is provided by Google's libraries when accessing a file selected through an external application). This is definitely undesirable after selecting a large file as the progress dialog will just sit there for a long time with no indication of progress, but there is nothing I can do about it unfortunately.

With Windows 10, there is no option to import files through an external application. Users will have to use Google's app (https://www.google.com/intl/en-GB_ALL/drive/download/), synchronize their cloud folders to local folders and import from those folders (or optionally just download the files off Google Drive that they want to use before importing).

My recommendation at this time is for users to switch to other services such as Dropbox or OneDrive if this turns out to be a problem for them. If Google is going to make it extremely difficult for third party applications to have direct access to their services, then this is the logical outcome.


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Upcoming changes to Google Drive integration (POSTPONED) - by Zubersoft - 10-19-2019, 03:44 AM

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