Google introduced file shortcuts to Drive in March to the dismay of many, but some changes are now being made that will hopefully improve the overall user experience. There are several improvements being shared, most of which are being implemented now and another that will come into play next year.

The first change here concerns the shortcut Shift+Z, which would formerly place a file in multiple locations if used on a shared file. Now, Shift+Z will instead create a shortcut if a single file or multiple items are selected, though if it's a single folder that is selected, this keyboard shortcut will still add another folder location so that Backup and Sync offline functionality isn't compromised.

Multiple locations of a file used to be created when designating someone else as the owner of a file through Drive on the web, but that's changing. Instead, the file will remain in the same place if the new owner can see the file's existing location. If the new owner can't, then the file will be moved from its current location to the new owner's My Drive folder, and a shortcut will replace the file in its previous location.

Google is also making it easier to find files that have been lost. If a file's last location was removed because, say, a file that was added to a shared folder ended up being deleted by the owner of the shared folder, Drive will now add this file to the owner's My Drive. Previously, you would have been able to find this file if you specifically searched for it, but you won't need to do that anymore. All of the changes above will be rolling out today, though they could take up to two weeks to reach both personal and G Suite accounts.

At some point in 2021, Google will be migrating existing files in multiple locations to shortcuts. This will be automatic, though users will get a banner in Drive at least two weeks before it begins. It'll replace all but one location of each file with multiple locations with shortcuts, and it will look at original ownership and other access and activity to determine which instances will become shortcuts, and which one won't.

These changes won't fix all of the complaints that customers had about all these file shortcuts, but they'll hopefully address at least a few.