Every day, millions of people use Google Docs to share and combine on documents. And when it comes to operative on papers online, few collection compare a energy and flexibility of Google Drive and Google Docs. But like all online collection that yield an open sourroundings for many people to share data, Google Docs entails remoteness risks.
A while back, one of a readers of TechTalks lifted voiced regard that a antagonistic actor was regulating Google Drive to petiole him and find his identity. “[A] chairman sent me a open couple to a video on their Google Drive. we clicked and noticed a video and afterwards satisfied a owners was stalking me and perplexing to find out my identity. Can he see who we am? Can he snippet me by IP residence or by my Google Drive account? we saw a video in my Google Drive and deleted it though now we am concerned,” a user asked.
In this post, we will go over a remoteness issues of Google Drive link-sharing and either antagonistic actors can use publicly common Google Drive files to accumulate supportive information about users. The following post focuses on link-sharing in Google Docs, though a same manners also request to other record forms common in Google Drive. First, let’s see how link-sharing works.
Does observation publicly common Google Docs exhibit your identity?
Google Drive lets we share your papers with specific people by selecting their Google Account emails. But it also has a link-sharing underline that enables we to share papers with anyone but categorically including them in a document’s entrance list. By branch on couple sharing, Google Drive produces a URL that gives entrance to a file. You can tell a URL online or send it to your mailing lists to share it with a vast organisation of people.
Link pity is widely used to share press releases, online courses and other open documents. Some organizations use couple pity to combine on inner papers (it’s a terrible idea).
Now, a doubt is, if we open a publicly common Google Doc, does a owners of a request learn your identity?
Explicitly common papers uncover a name and avatar of users who have now non-stop a document. It also shows a full story of edits done by any user. In contrast, publicly common papers uncover placeholder animal profiles such as “Anonymous Badger,” “Anonymous Kraken” and “Anonymous Camel” to paint users who are now observation a document.
Even if you’ve logged in to your Google Account while observation a publicly common document, your temperament will sojourn secret.
The usually difference to this order is a owners of a request and other users who have categorically been given entrance to a Google Doc. Their avatars and names will always be manifest when they’re observation a document.
Bottom line: Viewing publicly common Google Docs does not exhibit your identity. If we incidentally open a Google Doc, a owners won’t be means to accumulate information about your account. Neither will they benefit entrance to information about your device, IP residence or geographical location.
Does modifying publicly common Google Docs exhibit your identity?
Google Docs keeps a story of all edits done to a document. But when users revise a request by open sharing, their temperament stays anonymous, regardless of either they’ve sealed in to their Google Account or not. All edits done by people other than a owners or users who have been given pithy entrance to a request are filed underneath “All unknown users.”
Things get wily when we leave comments or suggestions. In this case, if you’re logged in as a Google user, afterwards Google Docs will register your name.
If you’re not logged in your Google Account, your comments and suggestions will be purebred underneath “Anonymous.”
Bottom line: As prolonged as we don’t leave comments or suggestions, modifying publicly common Google Docs will not exhibit your temperament to a owners of a request or other users.
Note: Editing manners request to all local Google record types, including Docs, Sheets and Slides. Video, audio and other record forms that can’t be edited in Google apps don’t lane edits and user identities.
Does adding publicly common record to your Google Drive exhibit your identity?
Shared papers have a “Add to My Drive” underline that lets we emanate a by-pass to a record in your Google Drive. This underline is usually meant for convenience, classification and easy entrance to common files. It doesn’t exhibit your temperament to a owners of a file. Also take note that this underline doesn’t emanate a duplicate of a record in your Google Drive. If a owners revokes access, we will not be means to entrance a record anymore.
Bottom line: If a common record appears in your Google Drive, it doesn’t meant a file’s owners knows about your identity. They won’t even know you’ve combined a record to your drive.
Google knows everything
Let’s be clear: Google knows utterly a lot about you, even if a owners of a common Google Docs doesn’t. Google runs a servers of Google Docs, that means it will collect your IP address, device info, browser info, geolocation and most more. Even if we haven’t logged in your Google Account and are regulating private browsing mode, Google will still know that you’ve formerly used a same device to entrance an account.
While this post is usually about safeguarding your remoteness opposite owners of common Google Docs, if you’re meddlesome in stealing your information from Google itself, there are a few things we can do, such as regulating a practical private network (VPN) or a Tor browser.
Privacy concerns over Google Docs
Like emails and amicable media posts, Google Docs can turn theme to phishing scams and information theft. Aside from a points lifted above, we contingency take a few things into care when traffic with publicly common Google Docs.
If we see a couple to a publicly common Google Doc record in an email, make certain that a hyperlink unequivocally points to a genuine Google Docs file. Some senders use email and couple trackers to collect information about users. When we click on a tracked link, you’re not directly taken to a destination. Instead, we go by an middle server that can collect information such as device type, browser type, IP address, geographical plcae and more. If you’re not careful, we won’t notice that we have only been tracked. Below is a tracked link. While a anchor content clearly shows it’s a Google Doc link, a genuine URL of a couple is a tracker.
You can determine this by hovering your rodent pointer on a couple and reading a residence that appears during a bottom of your browser window. If it doesn’t start with “https://docs.google.com” afterwards it’s not an authentic Google Docs link.
There’s another approach to equivocate clicking on tracked links by accident. If you’re regulating Gmail or a corporate G Suite email, genuine Google Docs links will seem as request attachments during a bottom of a email message. You can directly click on a idol to open a record in Google Docs. If a idol doesn’t appear, afterwards there’s something wrong with a link.
A final remoteness care when regulating publicly common Google Docs: Be really clever of links inside documents. Google Docs creates certain request owners can’t lane IP addresses and device information of visitors. But there’s no pledge about a reserve and remoteness of a links inside a document. Make certain to check a end of links inside a document. They competence go by trackers, giving a owners a capability to collect information about visitors.