Action required: Changes to Drive search operators

On April 27, 2021, the way that the Drive search operators to: and from: match files in Google Vault will change and won't match files shared before March 2021. As of February 2021, a new search operator, sharedwith:, is available that offers similar matching as the current to: operator.

Who's impacted, what to do, and when

If your organization uses the to: or from: Drive search operators, evaluate saved queries in Google Vault to ensure the queries return the results you expect.

  • To keep similar behavior as the current to:, change the search query to sharedwith:.
  • To keep the same behavior as the current from:, change the search query to owner:.

The search operator behavior will roll out in phases, described in the next section. You can update your search queries immediately. You'll get a notification in Vault when a search that uses to: or from: follows the new behavior.

Transition timeline

Phase 1: Drive releases sharedwith: search operator—February 2021

The sharedwith: search operator is available to all organizations for use in Drive and Vault. We recommend that you update your saved queries after this first phase completes. Initially, sharedwith: matches the same files as to:, but then there's a small change in the next phase.

Phase 2: sharedwith: matches more files—Mid-March 2021

The sharedwith: search operator matches files that the specified account can view, comment, or edit, plus files the specified account owns. If you compare search results between sharedwith: and to:, results from sharedwith: include more files because it also matches files owned by the account.

Phase 3: Behavior of to: and from: change in Drive—March 2021 through April 2021

The new behavior will gradually roll out to searches in Drive first. During this phase, searches for Drive files in Vault that use to: or from: follow the current behavior. If you compare search results between Drive and Vault, your results won't match after the change in Drive applies to your organization.

Phase 4: Behavior of to: and from: change in Vault—April 27, 2021

On April 27, 2021, the new behavior of to: and from: applies to all Drive searches in Vault.

Explanation of changes to search operator behavior

The new behavior of to: and from: for Drive searches makes these operators more intuitive. It also lets you determine not only who has access to a file, but who gave those users access. However, they may not meet your eDiscovery needs. Learn more about how the behavior is changing and read some examples in the following table:

Drive search operator Current behavior New behavior (starting April 27, 2021)
to:

Matches all files the specified account has permission to view, comment, or edit but doesn't own.

If the file is in a folder that was shared with the specified account, but the file wasn’t directly shared with the specified account, the file is a match.

Example

If user1@company.com has edit permission for file1 and folderA, which contains fileA:

  • to:user1@company.com matches file1 and fileA

Matches files directly shared with the specified account.

Doesn't match files shared prior to March 2021.

If the file is in a folder that was shared with the specified account, but the file wasn’t directly shared with the specified account, the file isn’t a match.

Example

If user1@company.com has edit permission for file1 and folderA, which contains fileA:

  • to:user1@company.com matches file1 but not fileA
from:

Matches files the specified account is owner of (same as owner:). For files in shared drives, matches files the specified account created.

Example

If a file is owned by user1@company.com and shared by user2@company.com:

  • from:user1@company.com matches the file
  • from:user2@company.com doesn’t match the file

Matches files shared by the specified account.

Doesn't match files shared prior to March 2021.

Example

If a file is owned by user1@company.com and shared by user2@company.com:

  • from:user1@company.com doesn’t match the file
  • from:user2@company.com matches the file
sharedwith: None - new operator

Matches all files that the account has direct or indirect permission to view, comment, or edit in Drive, including files the account owns.

To get the same behavior as current to:, use sharedwith:account ‑owner:account.

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