Google Drive and Google Docs now feature an electronic document signature. Is it reliable? What’s it really worth?
Google Drive’s electronic signature takes the form of a new field called eSignature. Users have several options for signing a document: by hand, using their initials or inserting their name. The signature date can also be added automatically. Google also offers the ability to request another person’s signature, track pending signatures, and quickly sort documents to see only those that are signed.
The feature is currently available in open beta for individual Google Workspace subscribers. Google has not yet said whether it will be extended to all Google Drive users, but it is likely to remain reserved for subscribers.
Google is now offering its users a free electronic signature service, in an attempt to differentiate itself and take a step ahead of its rival file storage and sharing platforms. Nevertheless, the level of signature offered remains low.
A single-level electronic signature.
It is essential to note that the Google electronic signature is a simple one. As a reminder, the electronic signature governed by the eIDAS regulation is offered at 3 levels: simple, advanced and qualified. For example, it does not include formal identification of the signatory by means of identity verification. It offers only a limited level of security. It is primarily intended for everyday use where safety is not a major concern. For highly confidential or legally binding documents, we recommend the use of more robust and secure electronic signature solutions, offered by trusted third parties and certification authorities.
In conclusion, the introduction of electronic signatures in Google Drive and Google Docs is a significant step forward that considerably simplifies the management of official documents. However, it is important to bear in mind the security limitations of the simple electronic signature, especially for sensitive documents. At Netheos, we offer an electronic signature solution combining the 3 eIDAS levels, so that documents can be signed according to the level of security required.