Google Docs offers you the convenience of accessing your online documents wherever you are, but at what cost? Your privacy. Google’s bots have previously been caught crawling through documents and deleting the ones they found ‘objectionable.’ Because Google’s business relies on data gathering, it would be wise to move to a document editing app that cares about your privacy. Here are the 5 best ones available:
Zoho is one of Google Docs’ biggest competitors. It’s surprising that it’s not more popular. It’s aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and has an interface that will be familiar to Word users.
It has most of the tools that its counterpart, Google Docs, offers – editing options, mail merge, electronic signatures, and even the ability to post your text straight to a blogging platform. It’s also compatible with other documents and softwares – you can upload Microsoft Office and Libre Office docs, edit PDFs, and sync it with your Dropbox.
If your team members need to work on the same document, you can chat to them via an integrated Zoho Chat. If you lose your connection, you can take your edits offline with the Zoho desktop app.
Zoho Office is part of a larger Office suite, which means that it will store your documents on their servers. They take their security seriously – they encrypt your data in transit and scan it from viruses.
Etherpad is a great choice if you are looking for a truly secure Google Docs alternative.
If you need other team members to edit the same document, you can send them a direct link or an email invitation. You will then see their changes in real time and will also be able to highlight who made what changes, revert mistakes, and use the chat bar to communicate with other collaborators.
There are a few downsides. It’s not compatible with other software such as Microsoft Word or Libre Office, nor does it offer an app for spreadsheets or presentations. It’s also a volunteer-run project – this makes it great for your privacy, but means you’ll receive little support with making it work the way you want to, especially if you want to use it with HTTPS.
CryptPad is another alternative to Google Docs that uses strong encryption to protect your data. Your information is encrypted both in transit and on the servers, so no one, not even the server admins, can read your documents. It also offers real-time collaboration for all your team editing needs.
The platform even gives you the option to stay anonymous, but that means that you will have to stick with limited storage and limited access to CryptDrive. In order to access all of the features, you will have sacrifice your anonymity and register or become a premium user.
OnlyOffice is a newcomer in the online editing industry. However, it has a ton of great features that are worth mentioning.
Word users might find the interface familiar and easy to use. It’s compatible with Microsoft Office and Libre Office documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You can sync all your documents to major cloud storage platforms – Dropbox, Onedrive, Sharepoint, and, yes, even Google Drive.
It’s great for collaborations too. The platform offers two editing options – Fast mode and Slow mode. The former allows you to see edits in real time, while Slow mode shows you the edits only when they are saved, shielding you from any distractions.
Only Office is an open-source platform, so anyone can have a look at its code. You can also deploy it on your own servers and take charge of your documents’ security.
Nuclino is great if you are looking for a platform that focuses on team collaboration and project management rather than editing. It has a great user interface, it’s versatile, and offers many features that allocate work, such as boards, smart tags and invitations.
However, it still lacks some features that Google Docs or Microsoft Office offer, like spreadsheet integration. It might not be the best choice for purely editorial purposes.
However, Nuclino does take your privacy seriously. The company ensures encryption in transit and for the files stored on their servers, it offers two factor authentication, and it complies with GDPR rules and regulations.
There are many more alternatives out there that you could choose from. However, some of them might not be any more secure than Google Docs. For example, Microsoft Office offers an online version of Word. But you cannot upload documents from your desktop and instead have to sync them with your OneDrive account. Similarly to Google Drive, OneDrive is also crawled by bots for ‘objectionable content’, which can then be deleted and lead to your account being terminated.
Another questionable option is Dropbox Paper. Even though it offers encryption for documents in transit and those stored in Dropbox, it has been criticized by Edward Snowden. He claimed that Dropbox would be willing to decrypt your data if asked to by law enforcement agencies, which means your information might not be as safe as you think.
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