After a period of internal testing, Google recently announced that the electronic signature feature of Google Workspace has entered public testing to assist enterprises in paperless office operations.
The supported roles are primarily individual entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who subscribe to the paid version of Google Workspace. Personal users are not currently supported.
The supported products are mainly Google Docs and Google Drive, where users can sign files and then send them to their partners.
In the future, Google will provide tracking and auditing functions for files with electronic signatures and will also offer multi-signature features, allowing multiple signatures on a single document.
There are numerous online services offering digital electronic signatures, and legally, electronic signatures carry the same validity as physical signatures.
For individual entrepreneurs and SMEs, using electronic signatures eliminates the need to print and mail contracts to partners.
This not only saves actual operating costs but also significantly shortens the time needed to sign contracts. After all, online transmission for signature verification can be quite fast.
However, Google’s current offerings are limited to electronic signatures, with features like tracking, auditing, and multiple signatures to be introduced later.
Additionally, these electronic signature verifications are currently only valid within the Google Workspace ecosystem, though Google has stated that non-Google ecosystem verification will be supported in the future.
Many existing electronic signature services essentially paste the handwriting onto the file after signing. While this is simple and convenient, it can pose security risks.
Some electronic signatures require the application of a specialized digital certificate, which requires additional identity verification and may lengthen the process slightly.
However, documents signed with digital certificates can significantly improve security, making it difficult for files to be tampered with or forged.
It is still unclear whether Google Workspace’s electronic signatures are based on pasting images or certificates, but logically, Google would likely focus on actual security.
Furthermore, if Google offers tracking and auditing features, simple pasting will not suffice, so Google would likely also utilize specialized digital certificates…right?