December 2021 Technology Newsletter

By: Michael Kealy

Happy Holidays from the Technology Department!

Google Chat

At the start of the pandemic Google Hangouts (chat & meet) were enabled to help facilitate remote learning. Google has since rebranded Google Hangouts as two separate products Google Meet and Google Chat. Since students returned to in person learning this school year, the Technology Department has seen a dramatic decline in the use of Google Chat, and has also received some complaints from teachers of students misusing the program.

After a discussion with administration a decision has been made to prohibit student use of Google Chat in the new year. Google Chat for students will be disabled sometime during the December holiday break.

REMINDER: Refrain From Using Free Wi-Fi To Access District Data

With the extended holiday break coming up, and the chance that people may be traveling, this is a reminder to refrain accessing free or unsecure wifi while accessing district information and data either from district owned or privately owned devices. Check out the video below for more information.

Happy Holidays!

Security Awareness Episode 8: Wi-Fi

Google Updates

Prevent unwanted invitations from being added to your calendar

What’s changing

Google improved the "Automatically add invitations" setting to help prevent unwanted invitations from being added to your calendar. You can now choose to either:

  • Always have invitations automatically added
  • Only have them automatically added if you have RSVP’d in the email event invitation.

These settings allow you to prevent invitations from automatically being added to your calendar or to be visible for others who you've shared your calendar with

Who’s impacted

End users

Why it matters

These additional controls can help you manage your calendar with less manual work by ensuring unwanted events don't appear, and you see only the events that are important to you.

Additional details

  • If you choose to only have events added if you RSVP, you’ll see an additional option to allow those who have permission to view or edit your events to see all invitations.
  • When you change the setting, it only determines whether future events are added to your calendar. Any events that are already on the calendar will remain visible unless you delete them.
  • If you choose to only add events when you RSVP, you’ll receive an email invitation to all events, even if the organizer chooses not to send one. This will help prevent you from missing events. Note that this doesn’t apply to updates, only to invitations.
  • We've moved the notification option ("Yes, but only notify me if I've responded Yes or Maybe") into the notifications section to help you better manage when you get notifications.
  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
  • Available to users with personal Google Accounts

More details on migration of existing multiple-location Google Drive files to shortcuts and other improvements for shortcuts

What’s changing

Last year, Google announced improvements for shortcuts in Google Drive. Shortcuts simplify file and folder structures in Drive by creating pointers to items, rather than having items which existed in multiple locations.

At that time, we also mentioned that we would be migrating existing files in multiple locations to shortcuts in 2021. This migration will now happen in 2022—see below for more information on the updated timeline:

  • Google Drive end users will begin seeing a banner in Google Drive on web and mobile notifying them of the migration. No additional action is required, the migration will take place automatically.
    • This applies to all Google Workspace users and users with personal Google accounts.

Who’s impacted

Admins and end users

Why it’s important

New shortcut behavior for items stored in multiple locations

We’re replacing files and folders that are stored in multiple folders in Google Drive with shortcuts. This change simplifies your folder and file structures and helps reduce confusion around files with multiple parent folder locations.

When a file is replaced with a shortcut:

  • One location is preserved for files or folders currently contained in multiple locations. All other instances of the item will be replaced with a shortcut.
  • Ownership and sharing permissions for files and folders are preserved.
  • Admins can view a record of these events and changes in the Admin audit log.

Several weeks before the migration in your organization, end users will see banners in Google Drive notifying them of the change. This process is automatic and requires no action from your end users. After the replacement, users can move their file or folder to another location or add a shortcut in another location.

Additional details

Shortcut creations using Drive for Desktop

Previously, when using Backup and Sync to connect with a computer, it was possible to add a folder to an additional location using the “Shift+Z” function. Going forward, once all users have fully migrated to Drive for Desktop, the Shift+Z behavior will create shortcuts instead of a folder living in multiple locations.

Recent improvements to shortcuts in Google Drive

As we continue to improve Google Drive, we’ve given our users more options to store and organize their files.

To provide our users with more information about the file a shortcut points to, we’ve added more information in the details window. Depending on sharing permissions, you’ll see information such as:

  • Who has access to the file and whether the file can be downloaded,
  • The size of the file and storage used,
  • The location of the original file,
  • Who created the file and the last modification, and more.

These updates are fully available on Google Drive for web — we will provide an update on the Workspace Updates Blog when they become available for Google Drive on mobile devices.

Additionally, because the original file’s permissions don’t automatically update when you create a shortcut, we will be adding prompts for users in the next few weeks to ensure your permissions are set how you want to. Previously, when you added a shortcut to a folder, users with access to the folder weren’t automatically granted access to the file at the other end of the shortcut. Now, when you create a shortcut, you’ll be prompted to give impacted users access.

Getting started


  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
  • Available to users with personal Google accounts