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Upcoming changes to Google Drive integration (POSTPONED)
#1
**UPDATE*

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.

Mike
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#2
Mike,

That's not good news!

What will happen to devices on an android version, lower than 5.0 regarding the file browser?

Thanks
Rudy
_____________________________________________________
HP Slate 21-Android 4.4.2, HP Slate 17-Android 4.4.4, Onda Air 10" (backup tablet) Android 4 / Windows 10
Yamaha Genos, Roland PK-6, Yamaha PSR S770


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#3
Well I'm still trying to see if I can pass the verification process, as I got past one roadblock yesterday (had to figure something out on my own as Google's verification team was no help). We will see where it goes. If I am able to pass the verification process, that would extend access for another 6 months or so until Google restricts access further. Then I may be forced to implement the changes described above.

As far as devices running Android versions below 5.0, there may be another workaround. If you tap Import->External/Cloud, what options are presented to you? Do any of the options let you access Google Drive? Make sure you have the Google Drive app installed before testing this. While I can test this on my own device running Android 4.2, every device is different (in terms of what is bundled with the OS) so it's better if you run the check on yours. 

Mike
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#4
Google is really trying their best to make our lives miserable...

May I humbly suggest to investigate support for Nextcloud?
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 9.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (N8010) 10.1", Android 7.1.2 (LineageOS) (backup).
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0 (emergency).
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#5
That's definitely on my list of cloud sources to support. Depending upon how this Google Drive verification process goes, I may look into adding it sooner if that would be a better alternative for people.

Mike
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#6
Looks like I finally gave Google what they wanted as I passed the verification. This is great as it means I won't have to worry about the Google Drive access until next year, at which point I will hopefully have other options available such as Nextcloud.

Mike
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#7
Great to hear! Thanks for keeping us posted.
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 9.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (N8010) 10.1", Android 7.1.2 (LineageOS) (backup).
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0 (emergency).
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#8
(10-21-2019, 01:48 AM)sciurius Wrote: Google is really trying their best to make our lives miserable...
 
You mean Google is trying their best to make it more secure.
I believe app/developer like MS/Mike should have no problem to pass verification.

Perhaps some users don't care if someone would steal their downloaded pdfs from their outdated leaking hardware but think of creators with precious/sensitive data.
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#9
Taking the risk of getting off-topic: I do not agree.

It is good that Google tries to make Android more secure. But I, as the (perceived) owner of the device, should be in control what level of security I want to have applied. Many 'security enhancements' that Google added to Android in the past years are seriously getting in the way of certain workflows and there is no way to disable them (except by rooting the device).

Neither can I control what information apps (or the system!) can exchange with third parties. Doesn't sound secure to me.

Quote:Perhaps some users don't care if someone would steal their downloaded pdfs from their outdated leaking hardware but think of creators with precious/sensitive data.

That's why I said the owner of the device should be in control what level of security she want to have applied. And it is okay to sell the devices with max security enabled so that naive creators with precious/sensitive data are protected but please do not get in the way of me using my device.

Ironically, those users with precious/sensitive data are quite likely to never make backups...
Johan
www.johanvromans.nlwww.hetgeluidvanseptember.nlwww.howsagoin.nl
Samsung Galaxy Note S4 (T830) 10.5", Android 9.0, AirTurn Duo & Digit.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (N8010) 10.1", Android 7.1.2 (LineageOS) (backup).
Samsung A3 (A320FL), Android 8.0 (emergency).
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