Why You Should Consider Proton Docs Over Google

Why You Should Consider Proton Docs Over Google

Proton has officially launched Docs in Proton Drive, a new web-based productivity app that gives you access to a fully-featured text editor with shared editing capabilities and full end-to-end encryption. It’s meant to take on Google Docs—one of the leading online word processors in the world, and make it more convenient to use Proton’s storage service. But how exactly does Proton’s document editor compare to Google’s? Here’s what you need to know.

Docs in Proton Drive has a familiar face

On the surface, Docs in Proton Drive—or Proton Docs as some folks have begun calling it for simplicity’s sake—looks just like Google Docs. And that’s to be expected. Text editors don’t have much reason to stray from the same basic “white page with a bunch of toolbars” look, and they all offer the same types of tools like headlines, bullet points, font changes, highlighting, etc.

Much like Google Docs, Proton’s document editor gives you a nice, big playing field for your words. It’s also easy to configure the sharing features—just like in Google Docs—by interacting with the Share menu up in the interface’s top right-hand corner. In fact, it looks like Proton has gone out of its way to ensure that everything about Docs in Proton Drive is familiar and easy to get used to if you’re coming to it from Google’s editor.

Swapping between services is barely an inconvenience—in addition to what I laid about above, you can also still add inline images, tables, and more. Pretty much everything is here. The biggest barrier is that, much like Google Docs requires users to have a Google account to access and edit documents, Docs in Proton Drive requires you to have a free Proton account. But there’s little reason to use the service without one, plus a Proton account gives you access to Proton Drive and several of Proton’s other free apps, too.

Credit: Michelle Ehrhardt

The difference isn’t in the app itself

If the text editors themselves are so simple, why am I writing this article? Comparing basic text editors might seem a bit silly, true, but there’s one big thing that really sets Proton apart from other text editors out there, especially Google Docs: end-to-end encryption.

Proton has built its entire business around the motto of “privacy first,” and that extends to the company’s latest software offerings, too. Docs in Proton Drive includes complete end-to-end encryption—down to your cursor movements—which means nobody, not even Proton, can track what you’re doing in your documents. They’re locked down before they even reach Proton’s servers.

This makes the product very enticing for businesses that might want to keep their work as private as possible while also still having the same functionality as Google Docs—because Proton isn’t missing any of the functionality that Google Docs offers, aside from the way that Google Docs integrates with the rest of the Google Suite of products.

That’s not to say that Google isn’t secure. Google does utilize its own level of encryption when storing your data in the cloud. However, it isn’t completely end-to-end encrypted, so Google has open access to your data. Google says it only trains its generative AI on “publicly accessible” information, and while that probably won’t affect most people, it is a pain point for many, especially as the company does make exceptions for features like Smart Compose.

That worry is why products with end-to-end encryption have become such a commodity in recent years—especially as cybersecurity risks continue to rise, meaning you have to trust the companies who store your data even more. Proton’s advantage is that it promises to NEVER use your content for any purpose—and those aren’t empty words. Because the company doesn’t have access to your content, it couldn’t use it even if it wanted to.

Choosing between Proton or Google Docs

Ultimately, I think there are use cases for both services. While I love the privacy that Proton offers with Docs in Proton Drive, I think that Google Docs is a lot more convenient—as a lot more people have Google accounts than Proton accounts, making it easier to collaborate with them.

I also don’t think that every document you make will always need the same level of end-to-end encryption that Proton is known for. In those cases, Google Docs is more than capable of protecting your document, so long as you follow all the usual security recommendations like two-factor authentication, using a strong password, and not giving anyone access to your account so that they can muck around in it.

Google Docs is also still integrated with all of Google’s other office products on its side. Proton, on the other hand, only has Docs at the moment—though I wouldn’t be surprised if the company eventually offers an entire suite of privacy-first office tools, so you don’t need other programs to open files you store with it.

But for your most secret information, say your next great American novel, Proton Docs make it easier than ever to keep it away from prying eyes.


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