To make collaboration more efficient and effective, Google Drive is adding a new Activity dashboard that lists the view history of a shared file. Intended to improve the follow-up experience, it will begin rolling out this month in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Google frames this feature as improving work collaboration, specifically cutting down on the need to manually ask a coworker if they’ve already seen an updated file.
For example, a user can check if a coworker has seen a file already and alert them that it’s been updated. Or an account manager can judge the best way to follow up with a partner, depending on whether that partner has viewed the materials they previously sent.
The initial Activity dashboard features the “viewing data” for a file, including who has viewed and when they viewed it. However, there are several restrictions to protect user privacy.
G Suite admins can decided whether to enable/disable this feature or to limit it within an organization, while individuals can exclude their individual viewing data from the dashboard by heading to personal privacy settings.
Meanwhile, only those with edit access can see the Activity dashboard and any related viewing data. Google notes that it plans to add more insights in the future.
When this feature launches starting later this month, end users will see a notification in Docs, Sheets, and Slides that explains the feature and their control options. Google notes that “Activity dashboard will only show viewing data for a user after they see this notification. It will not display any activity from before they saw it.”