Can the owner of a public document on Google Drive see whether a signed-in user previewed opened, downloaded, etc. his document?

I have been given a link to a (read-only) document, and I'm wondering if he gets notified when I open it.

2 Answers 2


Subscribers to Google Apps Unlimited have access to an audit log which shows the following when users visit a document:

  • User—The user who performed the activity.
  • Date—The date the event occurred (displayed in your domain's default timezone).
  • Event Name—The action the user performed, such as View, Create, or Edit.
  • IP Address—The IP address from where the user performed the activity.
  • File Type—The type of Drive file the activity involves.
  • Owner—The user who owns the file.

See https://support.google.com/a/answer/4579696


I don't believe GoogleDocs actively sends a notification to the document owner that you've opened the document.

If the document owner currently have the document open themselves and then you open it, there will be a new item that appears on the document GUI in the upper right hand corner which reads "1 other viewer" - when clicked on, this will open a new pane on the right which lists the users currently viewing the document (and may well indicate them opening, and closing the document) during the time the owner has the document open. You can try this by opening the document twice (either in the same browser or different browsers) and seeing what happens.

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