Google just announced in an email to Google App admins that starting “in a few weeks” Google Docs published and shared to users outside of one’s domain and linked to from a public website will be crawled, indexed and appear in Google search results. “This is a very exciting change as your published docs linked to from public websites will reach a much wider audience of people,” said Google in its announcement.
While this is great news it’s also sure to scare the many businesses that rely on Google Docs for day-to-day business. A recent IDC survey revealed that 20% of senior managers said that Google Docs was being “widely used” in their workplace.
Thankfully, Google has given Google App admins the ability to regulate sharing to users outside of their domain. However, the sharing options that Google currently offers are not nearly as granular as they need to be. Businesses using Google Apps may likely want tiers of users giving some the ability to share while prohibiting others. In addition, a business might also want to allow sharing with users of specific domains while prohibiting all others.
Sharing options for a PAY Google Apps Account:
Sharing options for a FREE Google Apps Account:
In any event, I’m sure Google will expand these features as time goes on. As a user of both the free and pay versions of Google Apps myself, I can surely speak to the pace at which Google has been updating and adding great features to their Google App offering.
If you are worried about any existing docs you have published please be sure to unpublish them before Google starts crawling and indexing in a couple weeks. For more information, make sure to check out this Google Help Center article on the issue.