Google is now beta testing eSignatures for Google Docs and Drive

New Google Docs Material Design
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google is adding native support for electronic signatures in Google Docs and Google Drive. 
  • The function, which was limited to alpha testing in June, has now been released in beta. 
  • The company is in the process of rolling out the new capability to individual Workspace users. 

Electronic signatures are an increasingly common way to sign legal documents or for companies to store or manage documents. So, it’s no surprise that Google is adding native support for electronic signatures in Google Docs and Google Drive. The tech giant announced an open beta of the new-ish eSignature capability on Google Workspace.

The new function — which was limited to alpha testing last June and is now released in beta — is intended for users to request, add, and track electronic signatures all from within the cloud-based productivity software. 

“To help streamline this workflow, we’re natively integrating eSignature in Google Docs, allowing you to request and add Signatures to official contracts, directly in Google Docs,” Google said in a statement.

At this point, it’s nothing fancy as the function right now includes an electronic signature input field that users can add directly within their documents.

A screenshot of Google Docs with eSignature.

(Image credit: Google)

However, Google explains that it expects to add other capabilities later this year, including an audit trail to track signatures in Google Docs; the ability to handle multiple signers, as well as non-Gmail users; and, finally, the ability to initiate electronic signatures from PDFs stored on Drive. 

There already exists a multitude of platforms that offer electronic signatures, including cloud-based options such as DocuSign and Dropbox, which acquired HelloSign in 2019, as well as local programs like Adobe Acrobat. 

So, Google’s new eSignature function may not exactly be breaking new ground, but it’s a welcome move by the company as it means users hopefully won’t have to switch between different apps or tabs as they work on contracts. With this new feature, requesting and adding electronic signatures will be part of the workflow for Workspace users.

Since the beta launch on August 8, the tech giant has been rolling out the new capability to individual Workspace users over the next 15 days. Group users can use the feature as well by having their Workspace admins apply for the beta version.