Google Docs

Google Docs is a word processor included as part of a free, web-based software office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. This service also includes Google Sheets and Google Slides, a spreadsheet and presentation program respectively. Google Docs is available as a web application, mobile app for Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, and as a desktop application on Google's ChromeOS. The app is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats.[2] The application allows users to create and edit files online while collaborating with other users in real-time. Edits are tracked by user with a revision history presenting changes. An editor's position is highlighted with an editor-specific color and cursor. A permissions system regulates what users can do. Updates have introduced features using machine learning, including "Explore", offering search results based on the contents of a document, and "Action items", allowing users to assign tasks to other users.

Google Docs
Google Docs icon
Google Docs icon
An example of a document in Google Docs
An example of a document in Google Docs
Developer(s)Google LLC
Initial releaseMarch 9, 2006
Written inJavaScript
Operating systemAndroid, iOS, macOS, Windows, BlackBerry, ChromeOS
PlatformGoogle, Apple, Microsoft
Available in83 languages[1]
WebsiteGoogle Docs


Google's Drive originated from two separate products, Writely and XL2Web. Writely was a web-based word processor created by the software company Upstartle and launched in August 2005.[3] It began as an experiment by programmers Sam Schillace, Steve Newman and Claudia Carpenter, trying out the then-new Ajax technology and the "content editable" function in browsers.[4] On March 9, 2006, Google announced that it had acquired Upstartle.[5][6] In July 2009, Google dropped the beta testing status from Google Docs.[7] In March 2010, Google acquired DocVerse, an online document collaboration company. DocVerse allowed multiple user online collaboration on Microsoft Word documents, as well as other Microsoft Office formats, such as Excel and PowerPoint.[8] Improvements based on DocVerse were announced and deployed in April 2010.[9] In June 2012, Google acquired Quickoffice, a "leader in office productivity solutions", with particular emphasis on Quickoffice's "seamless interoperability with popular file formats".[10] In October 2012, Google renamed the Drive products and Google Documents became Google Docs. At the same time, Chrome apps were released, which provided shortcuts to the service on Chrome's new tab page.[11] In February 2019, Google announced grammar suggestions in Docs. Expanding their spell check by using machine translation techniques to help catch tricky grammatical errors.[12]


Google Docs is available as a web application supported on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari web browsers.[13] Users can access all Docs, as well as other files, collectively through the Google Drive website. In June 2014, Google rolled out a dedicated website homepage for Docs, that contains only files created with the service.[14] In 2014, Google launched a dedicated mobile app for Docs on the Android and iOS mobile operating systems.[15][16][17] In 2015, the mobile website for Docs was updated with a "simpler, more uniform" interface, and while users can read files through the mobile websites, users trying to edit will be redirected towards the dedicated mobile app, thus preventing editing on the mobile web.[18]

Apps Script
Initial releaseAugust 19, 2009[19]
Written inJavaScript
TypeWeb application framework, scripting language



Collaboration and revision history

Google Docs and the other apps in the Google Drive suite serve as a collaborative tool for cooperative editing of documents in real-time. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users simultaneously and users are able to see character-by-character changes as other collaborators make edits. Changes are automatically saved to Google's servers, and a revision history is automatically kept so past edits may be viewed and reverted to.[20] An editor's current position is represented with an editor-specific color/cursor, so if another editor happens to be viewing that part of the document they can see edits as they occur. A sidebar chat functionality allows collaborators to discuss edits. The revision history allows users to see the additions made to a document, with each author distinguished by color. Only adjacent revisions can be compared, and users cannot control how frequently revisions are saved. Files can be exported to a user's local computer in a variety of formats (ODF, HTML, PDF, RTF, Text, Office Open XML). Files can be tagged and archived for organizational purposes.


Launched in September 2016, "Explore" enables additional functionality through machine learning.[21][22][23] In Google Docs, Explore shows relevant Google search results based on information in the document, simplifying information gathering. Users can also mark specific document text, press Explore and see search results based on the marked text only. The "Explore" features in Docs follow the launch of a more basic research tool originally introduced in 2012.[24][25][26]

In December 2016, Google introduced a quick citations feature to Google Docs. The quick citation tool allows users to "insert citations as footnotes with the click of a button" on the web through the Explore feature introduced in September. The citation feature also marked the launch of the Explore functionalities in G Suite for Education accounts.[27][28][29]

In June 2014, Google introduced "Suggested edits" in Google Docs; as part of the "commenting access" permission, participants can come up with suggestions for edits that the author can accept or reject, in contrast to full editing ability.[16] In October 2016, Google announced "Action items" for Docs. If a user writes phrases such as "Ryan to follow up on the keynote script", the service will intelligently assign that action to "Ryan". Google states this will make it easier for other collaborators to see which person is responsible for what task. When a user visits Google Drive, Docs, Sheets or Slides, any files with tasks assigned to them will be highlighted with a badge.[30]

In March 2014, Google introduced add-ons; new tools from third-party developers that add more features for Google Docs.[31] In order to view and edit documents offline on a computer, users need to be using the Google Chrome web browser. A Chrome extension, Google Docs Offline, allows users to enable offline support for Docs files on the Google Drive website.[32] The Android and iOS apps natively support offline editing.[33][34]


Supported file formats

Files in the following formats can be viewed and converted to the Docs format:[35]

  • For documents: .doc (if newer than Microsoft Office 95), .docx, .docm .dot, .dotx, .dotm, .html, plain text (.txt), .rtf, .odt

File limits

Limits to insertable file sizes, overall document length and size are listed below:[36][37]

  • Up to 1.02 million characters, regardless of the number of pages or font size. Document files converted to .gdoc Docs format cannot be larger than 50 MB. Images inserted cannot be larger than 50 MB, and must be in either .jpg, .png, or non-animated .gif formats.

G Suite

Google Docs and the Drive suite are free to use for individuals, but it is also available as part of the business-centered G Suite service by Google, which is a monthly subscription that enables additional business-focused functionality.[38]

Other functionality

A simple find and replace tool is available. The Drive suite includes a web clipboard tool that allows users to copy and paste content between Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Drawings. The web clipboard can also be used for copying and pasting content between different computers. Copied items are stored on Google's servers for up to 30 days. For most copying and pasting, Google Docs also supports keyboard shortcuts.[39] Google offers an extension for the Google Chrome web browser called Office editing for Docs, Sheets and Slides that enables users to view and edit Microsoft Word documents on Google Chrome, via the Docs app. The extension can be used for opening Office files stored on the computer using Chrome, as well as for opening Office files encountered on the web (in the form of email attachments, web search results, etc.) without having to download them. The extension is installed on Chrome OS by default.[40] Google Cloud Connect was a plug-in for Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 that could automatically store and synchronize any Word document to Google Docs (before the introduction of Drive) in Google Docs or Microsoft Office formats. The online copy was automatically updated each time the Microsoft Word document was saved. Microsoft Word documents could be edited offline and synchronized later when online. Google Cloud Connect maintained previous Microsoft Word document versions and allowed multiple users to collaborate by working on the same document at the same time.[41][42] However, Google Cloud Connect has been discontinued as of April 30, 2013, as, according to Google, Google Drive achieves all of the above tasks, "with better results".[43]


In a December 2016 review of Google Docs and the Drive software suite, Edward Mendelsohn of PC Magazine wrote that the suite was "visually elegant" with "effortless collaboration", but that Docs, as paired with Sheets and Slides, was "less powerful than desktop-based suites". Comparing Google's office suite with Microsoft's and Apple's, he stated that "Docs exists only in your Web browser", meaning that users have "more limited feature set" than "the spacious, high-powered setting of a desktop app". He wrote that offline support required a plug-in, describing it as "less convenient than a desktop app, and you have to remember to install it before you need it". Mendelsohn praised the user interface, describing it as "elegant, highly usable" with "fast performance", and that the revision history "alerts you to recent changes, and stores fine-grained records of revisions". Regarding the Explore functionality, he credited it for being the "niftiest new feature" in the suite and that it surpassed comparable features in Microsoft Office. He described the quality of imports of Word files as "impressive fidelity". In summarization, he praised Docs and the Drive suite for having "the best balance of speed and power, and the best collaboration features, too", while noting that "it lacks a few features offered by Microsoft Office 365, but it was also faster to load and save in our testing".[44]


2017 phishing incident

In May 2017, a phishing attack impersonating a Google Docs sharing email spread on the Internet. The attack sent emails pretending to be someone the target knew, requesting to share a document with them. Once the link in the email was pressed, users were directed to a real Google account permissions page where the phishing software, a third-party app named "Google Docs", requested access to the user's Google account. Once granted, the software received access to the user's Gmail messages and address book, and sent new fraudulent document invitations to their contacts.[45] The phishing attack was described by media outlets as "massive"[46] and "widespread",[47] and The Next Web's Napier Lopez wrote that it's "very easy to fall for".[46] One of the reasons the attack was so effective was that its email messages passed through spam and security software, and used a real Google address.[48] Within hours, the attack was stopped and fixed by Google, with a spokesperson stating that "We have taken action to protect users against an email impersonating Google Docs, and have disabled offending accounts. We've removed the fake pages, pushed updates through Safe Browsing, and our abuse team is working to prevent this kind of spoofing from happening again".[49][50] On the same day, Google updated Gmail on Android to feature protection from phishing attacks.[51][52][53] Media outlets noticed that, while the added protection was announced on the same day as the attack, it "may not have prevented this week's attack, however, as that attack involved a malicious and fake "Google Docs" app that was hosted on Google's own domain".[53] In early May 2017, Ars Technica reported that "at least three security researchers" had raised issues about the threat, one of them in October 2011, and that the attacker or attackers behind the actual incident "may have copied the technique from a proof of concept posted by one security researcher to GitHub in February". Furthermore, the report noted that Google had been repeatedly warned by researchers about the potential threat, with security researcher Greg Carson telling Ars Technica that "I don't think Google fully understood how severely this could be abused, but certainly hackers did".[54]

2017 "Terms of Service" error

In October 2017, Google released a server-side update to its codebase, which started incorrectly flagging random documents as unspecified violations of its "Terms of Service" policies. A fix was released shortly afterwards,[55][56] though the issue became noteworthy for the extent of Google's control over users' content, including its analysis of the contents of documents, as well as for its ability to shut users out at any time, including during critical moments of work.[57][58][59]


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External links


Coggle is a freeware mind-mapping web application. Like other mind-mapping software, Coggle produces hierarchically structured documents, like a branching tree. This contrasts with conventional collaborative editors, like Google Docs, which provide either linear (text document), or tabular (spreadsheet) document formats.

Its authors promise that it will be "free forever".

G Suite

G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Your Domain) is a brand of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google, first launched on August 28, 2006 as "Google Apps for Your Domain". G Suite comprises Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+ for communication; Drive for storage; Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites for collaboration; and, depending on the plan, an Admin panel and Vault for managing users and the services. It also includes the digital interactive whiteboard Jamboard and the app development platform App Maker.

While these services are free to use for consumers, G Suite adds enterprise features such as custom email addresses at a domain (, option for unlimited cloud storage (depending on plan and number of members), additional administrative tools and advanced settings, as well as 24/7 phone and email support.Being based in Google's data centers, data and information is saved instantly and then synchronized to other data centers for backup purposes. Unlike the free, consumer-facing services, G Suite users do not see advertisements while using the services, and information and data in G Suite accounts do not get used for advertisement purposes. Furthermore, G Suite administrators can fine-tune security and privacy settings.

As of January 2017, G Suite has 4 million paying businesses, and 70 million G Suite for Education users.

G Suite Marketplace

G Suite Marketplace (formerly Google Apps Marketplace) is a product of Google Inc. It is an online store for web applications that work with Google Apps (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, etc.) and with third party software. Some Apps are free. Apps are based on Google APIs or on Google Apps Script.

Google Apps Script

Apps Script is a scripting language for light-weight application development in the G Suite platform. It is based on JavaScript 1.6 with some portions of 1.7 and 1.8 and provides subset of ECMAScript 5 API, however instead of running on the client, it gets executed in the Google Cloud. According to Google, Apps Script "provides easy ways to automate tasks across Google products and third party services." Apps Script is also the tool that powers the add-ons for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a free web service developed by Google for schools that aim to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. The primary purpose of Google Classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.Google Classroom combines Google Drive for assignment creation and distribution, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for writing, Gmail for communication, and Google Calendar for scheduling. Students can be invited to join a class through a private code, or automatically imported from a school domain. Each class creates a separate folder in the respective user's Drive, where the student can submit work to be a graded by a teacher. Mobile apps, available for iOS and Android devices, let users take photos and attach to assignments, share files from other apps, and access information offline. Teachers can monitor the progress for each student, and after being graded, teachers can return work along with comments.

Google Closure Tools

Google Closure Tools is a set of tools to help developers build rich web applications with JavaScript. It was developed by Google for use in their web applications such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps.

Google Cloud Connect

Google Cloud Connect was a free cloud computing plug-in for Windows Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 that can automatically store and synchronize any Microsoft Word document, PowerPoint presentation, or Excel spreadsheet to Google Docs in Google Docs or Microsoft Office formats. The Google Doc copy is automatically updated each time the Microsoft Office document is saved. Microsoft Office documents can be edited offline and synchronized later when online. Google Cloud Sync maintains previous Microsoft Office document versions and allows multiple users to collaborate, working on the same document at the same time. Google Cloud Connect was discontinued on April 30, 2013, as according to Google, all of Cloud Connect's features are available through Google Drive.

Google Drawings

Google Drawings is a free, web-based diagramming software developed by Google. It allows users to collaborate and work together in real time to create flowcharts, organisational charts, website wireframes, mind maps, concept maps, and other types of diagrams. Google Drawings is also available as a Chrome app that works offline, available from the Chrome Web Store. Google Drawings is hosted within Google Drive and all files created with the application are by default saved to Google Drive. It was originally introduced on April 12, 2010 as Google Docs drawings, a tool for making drawings in Google Docs.Google Drawings allows multiple users to open and edit drawings simultaneously in real time.

It contains a subset of the features in Google Slides but with different templates.

Users can insert images from the local hard drive or from the Web, as well as shapes, arrows, scribbles and text. Google Drawings has set of flow-chart symbols and other shapes that can be dragged and dropped into place. Users can move, resize and rotate objects, and use polylines and line connectors.

It also allows for the editing of images, including cropping, applying masks and adding borders.

Other features include laying out drawings precisely with alignment guides, snapping to grid, and auto-distribution.

Drawings can be inserted into other Google documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. They can also be published online as images or downloaded in standard formats such as JPEG, SVG, PNG, or PDF.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. Launched on April 24, 2012, Google Drive allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices, and share files. In addition to a website, Google Drive offers apps with offline capabilities for Windows and macOS computers, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Google Drive encompasses Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, an office suite that permits collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more. Files created and edited through the office suite are saved in Google Drive.

Google Drive offers users with 15 gigabytes of free storage through Google One. Google One also offers 100 gigabytes, 200 gigabytes, 2 terabytes, 10 terabytes, 20 terabytes, and 30 terabytes offered through optional paid plans. Files uploaded can be up to 5 terabytes in size. Users can change privacy settings for individual files and folders, including enabling sharing with other users or making content public. On the website, users can search for an image by describing its visuals, and use natural language to find specific files, such as "find my budget spreadsheet from last December".

The website and Android app offer a Backups section to see what Android devices have data backed up to the service, and a completely overhauled computer app released in July 2017 allows for backing up specific folders on the user's computer. A Quick Access feature can intelligently predict the files users need.

Google Drive is a key component of G Suite, Google's monthly subscription offering for businesses and organizations. As part of select G Suite plans, Drive offers unlimited storage, advanced file audit reporting, enhanced administration controls, and greater collaboration tools for teams.

Following the launch of the service, Google Drive privacy policy was heavily criticized by some members of the media. Google has one set of Terms of Service and Privacy Policy agreements that cover all of its services, meaning that the language in the agreements grants the company broad rights to reproduce, use, and create derivative works from content stored on Google Drive. While the policies also confirm that users retain intellectual property rights, privacy advocates raised concerns that the licenses grant Google the rights to use the information and data to customize advertising and other services Google provides. In contrast, other members of the media noted that the agreements were no worse than those of competing cloud storage services, but that the competition uses "more artful language" in the agreements, and also stated that Google needs the rights in order to "move files around on its servers, cache your data, or make image thumbnails".

As of March 2017, Google Drive has 800 million active users, and as of September 2015, it has over one million organizational paying users. As of May 2017, there are over two trillion files stored on the service.

Google Forms

Google Forms is a survey administration app that is included in the Google Drive office suite along with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides.

Forms features all of the collaboration and sharing features found in Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Google Fusion Tables

Google Fusion Tables (or simply Fusion Tables) is a web service provided by Google for data management. Fusion tables can be used for gathering, visualising and sharing data tables. Data are stored in multiple tables that Internet users can view and download. The website launched in June 2009, announced by Alon Halevy and Rebecca Shapley.The web service provides means for visualizing data with pie charts, bar charts, lineplots, scatterplots, timelines, and geographical maps. Data are exported in a comma-separated values file format.

The service was further described in a scientific paper in 2010.The size of uploaded data set is limited to 250 MB with a total limit of 1 GB per user.In the 2011 upgrade of Google Docs, Fusion Tables became a default feature, under the title "Tables (beta)".

In December 2018, Google announced that it would retire Fusion Tables on 3 December 2019.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of a free, web-based software office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. The service also includes Google Docs and Google Slides , a word processor and presentation program respectively. Google Sheets is available as a web application, mobile app for Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, and as a desktop application on Google's ChromeOS. The app is compatible with Microsoft Excel file formats.

The app allows users to create and edit files online while collaborating with other users in real-time. Edits are tracked by user with a revision history presenting changes. An editor's position is highlighted with an editor-specific color and cursor and a permissions system regulates what users can do. Updates have introduced features using machine learning, including "Explore", offering answers based on natural language questions in a spreadsheet.

Google Slides

Google Slides is a presentation program included as part of a free, web-based software office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. The service also includes Google Docs and Google Sheets, a word processor and spreadsheet respectively. Google Slides is available as a web application, mobile app for Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, and as a desktop application on Google's ChromeOS. The app is compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint file formats.Slides allows users to create and edit presentations online while collaborating with other users in real-time. Edits are tracked by user with a revision history that tracks changes to the presentation. Each editor's position is highlighted with an editor-specific color/cursor and the system regulates what users can do through varying degrees of permissions. Updates have introduced features using machine learning, including "Explore", offering suggested layouts and images for presentations, and "Action items", allowing users to assign tasks to other users.

List of free and open-source web applications

All web applications, both traditional and Web 2.0, are operated by software running somewhere. This is a list of free software which can be used to run alternative web applications. Also listed are similar proprietary web applications that users may be familiar with. Most of this software is server-side software, often running on a web server.

The Spamhaus Project

The Spamhaus Project is an international organisation, based in both London and Geneva, founded in 1998 by Steve Linford to track email spammers and spam-related activity. The name spamhaus, a pseudo-German expression, was coined by Linford to refer to an Internet service provider, or other firm, which spams or knowingly provides service to spammers.

Vermilion Community College

Vermilion Community College is a two-year community college in Ely, Minnesota adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior National Forest.

Vermilion offers students several niche programs focusing on natural resources, natural sciences, and outdoor education. Founded in Liberal Arts, students can study a variety of programs and areas of interest.

Vermilion is also a residential college offering housing to nearly half of all attending students.

Vermilion sits on over 80 acres of property on the outskirts of Ely, Minnesota. Vermilion also runs an off-site Outdoor Learning Center for student use. This center has cabins, a classroom, forest area, a beach with docks, and is located on Fall Lake which servers as an entry point into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Women in firefighting

Firefighting has historically been a predominantly male profession throughout the world. However, since the 1970s, women have made inroads in both professional and volunteer fire departments in multiple countries. In modern times, women have served in a variety of fire service roles including as fire chiefs. Nonetheless, they comprise less than 10% of firefighters even in the countries where they are best represented.


Zotero is a free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials (such as PDF files). Notable features include web browser integration, online syncing, generation of in-text citations, footnotes and bibliographies, as well as integration with the word processors Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer and Google Docs. It is produced by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.


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