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Google moves forward with signature support

Google says its eSignature support for Docs and Drive has moved into the beta testing stage and will be open to test users

Google says it is moving forward with a plan to integrate eSignatures into its Docs and Drive services.

The move will officially send the document signing option into beta testing, a phase that Google generally uses before officially green-lighting new features for official use.

The move follows more than a year of the feature being held in an alpha testing phase. A beta testing designation means subscribers will be able to make use of the feature.

With the eSignature feature enabled, users will have a way to integrate formal, binding signatures into Docs and Drive files, a feature that could help to improve adoption particularly among business users.

"This feature will be available as part of a larger beta, which includes access to new custom layouts in Gmail," the Google team said in announcing the update.

"These new email layouts allow users to customize existing templates, reuse a custom layout in multiple email campaigns, or create a brand new layout from scratch."

Having the ability to integrate support for eSignatures could be an important feature if Google hopes to continue to push Docs and Drives into the enterprise space. Being able to officially sign documents is critical for handling official contracts and other binding documents.

"For solopreneurs and small businesses, keeping track of contracts, customer agreements, and other binding documents can be challenging," the Google team said.

"To help streamline this workflow, we’re natively integrating eSignature in Google Docs, allowing you to request and add Signatures to official contracts, directly in Google Docs."

Google said that the features will be intregrated as part of a larger beta program for gmail. Google says that companies who sign up for the beta program will be able to access the feature as an option in the coming weeks.

Currnetly the feature is limited to interactions between Gmail users, though Google says it plans to add options for third-party services as well as audit trail and multi-signing capabilities later this year.

Under the plan, individual users will be able to sign up for the new features immediately, while companies can sign up for the Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Starter, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Essentials Plus, Education Plus, and Nonprofits programs.