Cloud storage services like Google Drive have made collaborative work massively more convenient, and soon(ish), it'll get even better: Google will begin testing file shortcuts in Drive over the next few weeks.

Shortcuts should be familiar to Windows and Mac users (although they're "Aliases" in Mac parlance), and they're exactly what they sound like: links to files that can be moved or deleted independently from the items they point to. File sharing in the workplace seems like the most significant use case in Drive; files can't be owned by two shared drives, so there's currently no convenient way to provide two separate teams access to the same file. Shortcuts can be added to any drive a user has access to, though, including other shared drives. Of course, shortcuts are also handy for organizing individual users' content.

It's not currently clear how the shortcuts will function in local folders synced with Google Drive.

Google hasn't said exactly when users will be able to start creating shortcuts. It seems like the feature is still a ways out as a beta for G Suite users will start "in the coming weeks." Features tend to trickle down from G Suite exclusivity to general availability relatively quickly, though, so it shouldn't be too long. G Suite administrators can apply for entry into the beta program here.

Rolling out

After beta testing this for several months, Google is now rolling out file shortcuts to all Drive users, whether they're G Suite and personal accounts. You can create shortcuts for your own files inside different folders, or shortcuts to files that were shared with you so you can access them easily from your folders.