How to manage (edit, remove) Google Drive Shortcuts

I realize this may be breaking with protocol a bit since it’s not a question, but rather some tips on using Google Drive Shortcuts that took me weeks with Google Support to understand! Hopefully it saves someone some headaches!

You can create shortcuts to files and folders in Google Drive. Just right click on any file or folder, select “Add Shortcut to Drive” and you’ll be prompted to save the shortcut to a location that you can navigate to.

Now in most situations Bob may be creating the shortcut in a folder that Bob created. So say the file is as follows:

|- My Drive/
   |-- bob-parent-folder/
       |-- bob-child-folder/
           |- bob-file.txt

In this case bob-parent-folder and bob-child-folder were both created by Bob and has Bob set as “Owner” in the membership list.

Let’s now consider that Alice has another folder in that tree:

|- My Drive/
   |-- bob-parent-folder/
       |-- bob-child-folder/
           |- bob-file.txt
       **|-- alice-child-folder/**

Bob decides to create a shortcut of bob-file.01 into alice-folder-02:

|- My Drive/
   |-- bob-parent-folder/
       |-- bob-child-folder/
           |- bob-file.txt
       |-- alice-child-folder/
           |- bob-file.txt     <--- this is now a "Add Shortcut to Drive" link 

All good. Now let’s say Bob wants to delete the shortcut that he just created. When he goes to alice-child-folder/ and right-clicks on bob-file.txt, he sees the Remove option greyed out. Huh? How come?! He owns the parent folder bob-parent-folder and original file bob-file.txt and he created the shortcut bob-file.txt. So what’s going on?

If Alice goes to alice-child-folder she is able to see the Remove option, and can delete the shortcut that Bob created.

The logic here seems to be that the owner of a folder is the only one who can delete shortcuts. This is specific to shortcuts, not other files, since Bob can add other files to the alice-child-folder and delete them without issues.

This can cause all kinds of confusion since shortcuts may be created by accident, new folders may be created by people who have access to the top of the tree, and the original file that the shortcut is connected to may be deleted. It turns out that the “owner” of a folder is who you always need to track down to manage shortcuts.

In my opinion this logic in Google Drive is confusing and inconsistent. Shortcuts behave differently from other files in the same folder!

I could not find good documentation of this logic, and in fact it took Google Support escalating the issue to backend engineer to really understand how this works.

It’s possible i’m misunderstanding this so would greatly appreciate any further insights or clarifications on how Google Drive manages shortcuts and how they are managed.