One of the key advantages that Google Docs has over the competition is that a document (or spreadsheet or presentation, etc.) can be shared for editing or commenting with any Google Workspace or consumer Gmail user outside of one’s own organization.
But what if a Google Workspace user needs to share a document with someone outside their organization who does not have a Gmail account?
The options have been:
1. Create an unlisted link to the document which lets anyone with the link edit or comment on the doc. This also required an administrative permission, “Allow users in [domain] to publish files on the web or make them visible to the world as public or unlisted files.”
2. Ask the outside user to create a Google account without Gmail
#1 does not identify the outside user who made a comment or an edit to a doc. Not all admins may be willing to enable this capability.
#2 is no longer an option offered by Google. Even when it was, it was difficult to get people to create a Google account just so they could collaborate on a document with you.
Google has come up with a better way for sharing Docs outside of an organization.
That is, if you want to share a Google Doc with someone who is not using Google Workspace at work and who does not have a Gmail account, you will soon be able to send that person a link and a PIN (Personal Identification Number) code. This will be called Pincode Sharing in Drive.
Pincode Sharing in Drive is currently in beta. We will update this post with additional information once the capability is generally available.
Google Workspace is like a "business version" of consumer Gmail
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