It is very easy for users to share their files with your Google Drive account. This is great if you want the files in your account but it can also quickly add to the clutter in your account. This then brings the next question, how do you see who has shared files with you? Is there a way to quickly remove these files from your account?
There are two possible ways to accomplish this task. The first option is to use an advanced search in Google Drive to find files that are owned by others (as long as you know the other person's email address). The second option (which is far easier) is to use Clean Drive to list all of the people that own files in your account and then display the exact files that they own.
Option 1: Seach Bar in Google
The first option is to use an advanced search. For example, you can type "owner:firstname.lastname@example.org" in the search bar. This will show all files that are owned by email@example.com.
This approach can work if you know the specific person's email address that you are looking for. The downside is that this does not show all people that have shared files with you. The other issue with this approach is you have to remember what to type when using an advanced search (ex. was it "owners:", "owner:", "fileowner", "share:"?)
Option 2: Use Clean Drive to List Owners
Clean Drive makes this process simple. You just scan your account and then click "Not Owned By Me". You will immediately see a list of all the files that were shared with your account that you do not own.
You can also take this a step further and filter by a specific user. All users that have shared files with you will be listed in the drop-down so you do not need to know the email address of the user (like option 1).
List Owners by Folder, Size, Type, Date, etc
You may have noticed in the above image that the filter dialog is not limited to only a specific user. You have a lot of power in the filter dialog to further filter the results. Here are some examples of the type of results you can easily see with a few simple clicks:
- Files owned by a user (or multiple users) that are in a specific folder
- Files owned by a user (or multiple users) that were created in the last year
- Files that are of a specific type (ex. PDF) and owned by a specific user and in a specific folder (or folders) and created in the last year.
That last one sounds a bit complicated when it's typed out and if you were to try to do that search in Google Drive it would feel just as complex. In fact, you can't do that last one in Google Drive as there is not a way to search by the date the file was created.
The fact is that Clean Drive takes files that would typically be very hard to find and makes them simple. This way you gain more control of your account and it becomes easier to organize your files. This saves you time in finding your files and makes it easy to remove the unwanted clutter. Ultimately you will reduce your Google Drive storage costs because you won't have a mess of files that you find easier to ignore.
Option 3? Sync All Your Files
I should also mention that many people will handle organizing their files by syncing them to their desktop computer. This can help in some cases but has a few major setbacks.
The first setback is not all information about your files is transferred to your desktop computer. For example, after you have synced these files to your computer you will be the owner of every file. That makes it impossible to search for a specific owner. Even if you could search for the specific owner on your desktop how would you do it?
A couple of other issues with syncing all of your files to your desktop are the following:
You have to install an additional program on your desktop computer.
It is slow as you have to wait for every file to sync/download.
Information (metadata) about each file is lost when stored on your desktop computer. You will lose the creation date, owner, description, etc.
You are required to have a desktop computer. This is becoming more of an issue with the power of tablets and mobile devices. Did I mention Clean Drive has a mobile app?
Desktop computers have a limited ability to find files in the way the Clean Drive does. You might find yourself needing to install multiple programs that offer the features that come with Clean Drive.
After organizing your files you have to upload them all again to Google. I hope you have a fast internet connection.
As you can see, Clean Drive makes a lot of the process of filtering your files and organizing them much easier than the alternative.
Clean Drive for the Win
The features in Clean Drive go a long way to give you back control of your files. You can quickly find files not owned by you with a single click. You can also find files owned by specific users by selecting those users in the filter dialog. Last, you can combine multiple filters to drill down to the specific files you are interested in. This gives you more control over your files and prevents the need to memorize advanced search commands like what was mentioned for option 1.