Monday, September 21, 2009

New Google policy make Google Docs more public

New Google policy make Google Docs more publicGoogle has announced a new policy which will make Google Documents files such as text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations more likely to appear in public searches.

Google has changed the way in which certain Web documents created with Google Docs applications, will be handled by search engines, including Google’s own. A Google blog said that “in about two weeks, we will be launching a change for published docs. The change will allow published docs that are linked to from a public Web site to be crawled and indexed, which means they can appear in search results you see on and other search engines…This is a very exciting change, as your published docs linked to from public Web sites will reach a much wider audience of people.”

The only documents which will be so indexed, according to the blog posting, are those which are published using the the ‘Publish as Web page’ or ‘Publish/embed’ options, and those which are linked from a public Web page. Many Google Docs documents, of course, are published specifically to reach the widest audiences and thus the new rules will be good news since they will bring a larger readership, according to a CNET article.

Still, there is no real way to tell from the Google Apps master listing which documents are viewable by the public and which are not, since there is no way to tell which are linked from public Web pages. It is therefore possible that some documents which were intended as private will now be listed in search engine returns. Google has said that the user can certainly unpublish those documents, but how to tell which ones to unpublish is not clear. It may be that a new method is needed to determine which Google Apps documents are public and which or not, i.e. to provide a finer granularity than is currently available. At the very least, users should go through their list of Google Apps-created documents and unpublish those which are intended to be private.