In Fall 2023, we will remove Google Drive/Sheets functionality from ODK Collect. Users will no longer be able to download blank forms directly from Google Drive or send completed forms directly to Google Sheets. We are making this change to enable us to move faster on features that serve more users.
We believe most people use Google Drive/Sheets because they see it as reducing the financial and technical cost for organizations to use ODK. But because Google Drive/Sheets were not designed to be a replacement for an ODK server, the user experience is not intuitive or reliable. We know that projects using Google Drive/Sheets are unable to use ODK to its full potential and we believe they will be best served by using a server designed for use with Collect.
In the last 12 months, Google Drive/Sheets was used for 6.1% of submissions sent from Collect. Roughly 5.2% of our user base used it. We believe that with sufficient warning, these users will be able to migrate to ODK Cloud, self-host Central, or use an ODK-compatible server.
If you use Collect to connect to Google Drive/Sheets, we recommend the following actions:
- Plan for future data collection efforts to use an ODK server
- Stop all automatic updates of Collect for devices connecting to Google Drive/Sheets
- Use Collect projects if you need to start new initiatives while data collection is still being done using Google Drive/Sheets
- Once all Google Drive/Sheets data collection is complete, resume Collect automatic updates
Stopping automatic updates will allow you to continue using Google Drive/Sheets for as long as you need it (or until Google changes something on their end). You will also be able to install Collect v2022.4.2 with Google Drive/Sheets support manually from APK.
We generally do not recommend stopping auto updates or using older versions of Collect. However, in this case, we think it provides the smoothest transition out of Google Drive/Sheets.
To stop automatic updates of Collect:
- Go to the Play Store listing for Collect from the device that needs to stop updating
- Tap on the ⋮ menu in the top right
- Uncheck “Enable auto update”
Changes to Collect will be staged as follows:
- In Collect v2023.1 (~March 2023), there will be a banner at the top of the main menu for users of Google Drive/Sheets. It will tell them that Google Drive/Sheets support is going away and will link to this post.
- In Collect v2023.2 (~summer 2023), users will not be able to configure new projects that connect to Google Drive/Sheets.
- In Collect v2023.3, all user-visible Google Drive/Sheets functionality will be removed.
We welcome feedback you may have on this approach. Are there implications we may not have considered? Do you have alternate suggestions on how we make this change as seamless as possible for users?