Are all our changes logged, safe, saved, secure and downloadable? Has Google Docs committed to it all being seeable, shareable, protected and preserved?

Remembering what was said is important. I write about Language Evolution et al, so I need a memory, a change log, to show a path.

Important work and business needs reliable, transparent records, so is Google Docs able to recall and share what happens in a living documents' life?

Version history by Google Docs is advocated to give us all integrity, in creative processes, but I am cautious and curious if our full, true timelines will survive long-term.

  • 1
    See also: stackoverflow.com/questions/14222090/… Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 21:40
  • Good, reasonable research demo, but we need a stable comprehensive tool. Others alike have found revisions by API access limited, even problematic. Sadly, Google is quiet, challenging diverse efforts to manage, analyze, archive, restore, preserve, protect, remember and share our important history and data better. @Mechanicalsnail Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 10:10

2 Answers 2


No guaranteed, faithful audit trail is given by Google Docs. Logs are lost by Google because of (1) deleterious forced upgrades (2) forced space optimization (3) no downloadable backups preventing loss.

  1. Revisions Deleted by Upgrade: Google Docs' last official upgrade did not save, nor migrate, old Revision History to their new version, resulting in total data loss and no alternative. http://productforums.google.com/d/topic/docs/Tsd-E-bzsh8

  2. Automatic Revision Pruning: Docs deletes versions to save space, but you cannot control it, nor mark versions to save forever. http://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=95902

  3. No Downloadable-Publishable Revision History: Contrasting Google Docs' promise to share our work, only you and people who can edit your document are able to view Revision History, making real public transparency/accountability/downloadability difficult if not impossible.

Google is known for their likeable Data Liberation Policy. but it severely misinforms people who do not know Revision History is not faithfully backed up.

I welcome Google to commit to never losing anything you share and write, and optionally allow others equal transparency to see everything we save (or tried...) and share.

So if Google Docs' deleterious behavior continues, people will continue to be disappointed if their archived data is unpredictably, untrackably, so very loseable.


Actually color formattings are tracked, but not shown as changes in the document. So if someone makes a cell a different background color, you can't find out which cell has been changed, unless you open both revisions side by side make a cell by cell comparison.

  • How does this answer the original question?
    – ale
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 15:42

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