.ID for Google Docs - strong signatures right inside your favourite text editor
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.ID for Google Docs - strong signatures right inside your favourite text editor

This week we roll out Google Docs add-on for .ID. It is a brand new tool in .ID product family that allows our users to seamlessly integrate advanced electronic signatures with popular document editing app. It is a next step in our journey to bring high-end digital identity based signature services to the masses.
Jarmo Tuisk
Jarmo Tuisk
May 25, 2020

Does the following sound familiar to you?

You have created a 20-pager contract draft and sent it to your partner for review, it comes back after a few days with the small note that he changed some wordings in the document, but unfortunately forgot to turn on the track change feature.

So you open up the original file in one window and the copy of the file from your partner in another. After hours of scrutinising both documents you identify the differences, but you also find a few typos he made. You send the document back with the fixes (carefully marked with the “track changes” on) and ask if he approves the changes and perhaps he is ready to sign it now.

Again a few days pass and finally you will receive a PDF file from him with the scanned print out (with red track-changes nicely visible) with his lovely initials under each page. “Here you go!” states the happy note in the email with the compulsory smiley.

The document itself is now 43MB large (it was around 56KB before) and some of the pages are not so well scanned, so it’s a bit difficult to read. And of course, never mind the nice red comments and track-changes on the sidebars.

Document signing made quick and easy! When you have finished your Google Docs file then just send it to .ID platform and add more signers and viewers securely.

Sign the original, don’t get versions mixed-up

Unfortunately, this is how most people create and sign contracts digitally nowadays. We are collectively wasting thousands of hours in document creation and management processes. Even though there are tools available that enable us to collaboratively work with the same document and a lot of ways to sign the documents without a process of the printing-scanning-emailing.

In April 2020, Google marked its tenth anniversary since they officially launched their collaboration features for Google Docs. So, over the decade we have enjoyed the possibility to share the “original” document with our friends, colleagues and partners and work together in the Cloud.

So why exactly are we still bouncing document copies around over emails, tracking changes and wasting time?

One reason is the habit which is naturally hard to break. The other reason could be that the majority of electronic signature tools available in the market demand that the contract or document is uploaded to their environment where the author can mark down the spot where the image of the signature must be placed. Not much different compared to print, sign, scan — except now you can “draw your signature” on to the document.

We believe that it is not necessary. In our vision, there should not be any need for the middle-man services, complicated document uploading, sharing and signing processes.

The document should be finalised collaboratively within the original authoring environment with a transparent audit trail and signed right away when ready. The digitally signed document should remain in the same place where the counter-parties edited it.

Advanced security and authenticity built in by design

By launching the .ID signatures for Google Docs add-on we are taking an important step towards accomplishing our strategy to integrate eIDAS and ESIGN compliant advanced electronic signatures right into the document creation process.

It’s the first important milestone in our roadmap of integrating .ID services with Google and Microsoft document authoring tools and cloud collaboration environments.

Our integration strategy is important to us but what remains our True North and product core principle is preserving the original document state and not tampering with it.

Prepare your documents in Google Docs and sign them digitally with just a few clicks.

Once the document is ready for signing there should not be any more edits or additions to the document with the electronic signature service provider. There are other, more solid and secure methods to prove that the electronic signature is attached to the specific document.

Already in 2015, the European Union established a standard electronic signature container format that allows electronic signing of any type of file or a bundle of files without tampering the original document (for example by adding scanned images of user signatures to each page). However, very few electronic signature providers actually take use of that ASiC standard.

Our beliefs define who we are and what matters to us

Our .ID services uses ASiC signature containers because we believe that while moving forward to the digital world, old habits of scanned photo of “wet signature” into the document, do not have a place in the improved quality, security and authenticity of the signature in any way.

If we want real digital authenticity, we must use advanced cryptography and strong authentication tools, that is just who we are and what matters to us. That’s also the reason why we enable signing with the .ID app only. This dedicated companion app is a secure device that only you control, and that stores your private keys for signing. It’s one of the safest ways to issue your personal electronic signatures.

And in addition to that, ASiC containers enable users to sign any type of original digital file — being it the Excel sheet, JPEG image, or Javascript code.

We hope that you enjoy the first version of .ID signatures for Google Docs to sign PDF and other files and encourage you to sign documents securely and safely. Because it is the first version, we would value your feedback and moreover, your wishes to make your life easier for our next version of the .ID Google Docs add-on.

Feel free to visit our community page agrello.id/community and contribute to our product roadmap creation directly.

Install .ID Signatures add-on for your Google Docs and for additional info please visit our web site.

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