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Beware, DocuSign: Google Docs now offers eSignatures

August 10 2023

Do you remember MapQuest? It launched in 1996 and was, at one point, the go-to place to find internet-based directions to anywhere you might want to drive. (You had to print them out or write them down, but still!) What happened to the startup? Nine years after MapQuest's debut, Google made Google Maps available to the general public. MapQuest is still around, but ironically, it's probably more widely used as an app downloaded on the Google Play or Apple app stores than it is anywhere else.

DocuSign (and other web-based document management systems that allow users to securely and legally sign forms) might want to start watching their backs right about now. On Wednesday, August 9, Google introduced beta launches for a new native electronic signature tool that certain users can find embedded directly in Google Docs and Google Drive.

The tool, eSignature, is in open beta for Workspace Individual subscribers and beta for Google Workspace customers. This means that these users can create contracts in Google Docs and get any required signatures right there in Docs, without having to move the contract to DocuSign or another platform.

google esignature beta

Image source: Google

"But it's not a PDF," we hear you objecting. Well, Google also announced that it will be rolling out additional features later this year for eSignature users, including:

  • eSignatures on PDFs that are stored in Google Drive
  • eSignatures submitted from non-Gmail email addresses
  • The ability to request signatures from more than one person on the same contract
  • An audit trail report

If you have a Google Workspace Individual account, you can already use this feature. Visit the eSignature help section for step-by-step instructions around how to get started.

If you have a Google Workspace Business account — including Business Sandard, Business Plus, Enterprise Starter, Enterprise Sandard, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Essentials Plus, Education Plus, and Nonprofits — then you can apply to participate in the beta test.