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My company is a group which owns several domains, and we are operating a single federated G Suite environment with many domains.

When I try to share an uploaded document from the Android applet (2.19.252.05.34), I notice it is given an URL of the form https://drive.google.com/a/domain.tld/file/d/1loNgs7r1NgOfR4nd0mChars where domain.tld is one of the various domain registered. Then, if someone without explicit access tries to follow the link in a browser, it is asked to register at Google as a @domain.tld user.

How can I select the domain to use?

Ideally it should be the one which matches the domain the user is registered with, which is of course not always the same; is it possible to have a different one for each user, or perhaps for each organization unit?

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Short answer

If you want to share the files outside of your domain, you should change the sharing settings, and you should remove /a/domain.tld from your link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1loNgs7r1NgOfR4nd0mChars

Background info

The /a/domain.tld tells Google to try to authenticate with a domain.tld Google account if the user is signed in with one, or to prompt the user to sign in a Google account ending with that domain name.

This is useful if you have Google Drive files that are shared domain-wide (i.e. the "Only people at domain.tld may view" option). Without it, people who signed into a personal Google account first, and then signed in to their domain.tld account get prompted to request access, or they sometimes just get a "We're sorry, but you don't have access to this page".

screenshot of Google Drive's "You need access" page, with "Request Access" button and comment pointing out that the user probably won't know to click "You're signed in as..." to switch to a domain.tld account.

Screenshot of "We're sorry, but you do not have access" error, with comment indicating that this is because the user clicked on a direct download link, but the first account signed in on that browser is not a domain.tld account.

If you happen to know what order the user signed in to the Google accounts in their browser, you can specify the account using /u/0 for the first account, /u/1 for the second account, etc.

For example, this link with /u/2 would try to authenticate using the third (not second) Google account the user signed into on that browser:

https://drive.google.com/u/2/file/d/1loNgs7r1NgOfR4nd0mChars
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  • Thanks for the hints. I definitively understand better how the URL is structured. I fully got the point of specifying /a/domain.tld in the first place for the case you describe. However, I do not want to share files outside my organisation, just ease the experience of the insiders receiving the link. And I fail to see how to edit the link when sharing a file from the Android app (unless I miss it in your explanation); being required to go to Chrome's Drive extension in order to copy and paste the link into a new mail seems to defeat the purpose of the app to me.
    – AntoineL
    Jun 26 '20 at 8:33
  • By the way, it does not seem to me that shares are domain-wide in my case: the options is open to anybody within the group ("Only people at group may view"), whichever their @domain.tld actually is. I confess I do not have explored all the possible settings linked with organisational units, so perhaps it is there.
    – AntoineL
    Jun 26 '20 at 8:40
  • @AntoineL Sorry, I should have said "If you want to share files outside of your domain...remove /a/domain.tld. By default, domain.tld will match the sender's domain, not the recipient's domain. If each of your recipients has a different domain, you could manually edit the link to enter each person's domain, but I don't think that would be worth the effort. It might be worth the effort to create a primary email address for on the same domain, and add the other domains as aliases. I assume that is what G Suite Support would tell you to do.
    – browly
    Jun 26 '20 at 19:18
  • Caveat: the question was asked a long time ago and I did not checked whether current version of Android has it been modified. With that caveat however, when I tested it in the first place, I ended up with the created URL having domain.tld which was not mine (i.e. sender's), but rather the most often used domain in the group (hence my hints this should be some default value which I hope could be overridden someplace, preferably in relation to a organisational units.
    – AntoineL
    Jun 29 '20 at 11:55
  • I understand your suggestion about creating aliases, but it is way beyond my allocated powers to give all people within the whole group new email addresses in differing companies. In fact, if we were to go that route of the aliases, we rather would merge all the companies into one, at least when it come to electronic mail identities. As you can guess, this is not small decision.
    – AntoineL
    Jun 29 '20 at 12:01

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