Proton adds document collaboration to its freemium Drive cloud storage service

Pro-privacy app maker Proton has added a new document creation/editing/collaborating feature to its secure cloud service.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
A portion of the Proton Drive page.

Soon your Proton Drive will include Proton Docs.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

It was only a matter of time. After Proton acquired the note-taking app Standard Notes in April 2024, we knew that Proton would integrate the service into its Drive, cloud-based storage offering, Proton Drive. Not even three months later, and here we are.

Proton released Proton Drive for the web in September 2022 and on mobile in December 2022. The startup also develops Proton Mail, which includes other features such as a calendar, a VPN, and even a password manager. These features are all accessible from within the Proton Mail app (or any other app in the suite).

According to the official Proton blog, "Docs in Proton Drive are built on the same privacy and security principles as all our services, starting with end-to-end encryption. Docs let you collaborate in real time, leave comments, add photos, and store your files securely. Best of all, it's all private — even keystrokes and cursor movements are encrypted."

Also: Proton Mail is making a serious case to be my next Linux email client

One very important aspect of Proton's new Docs service is that, given the company's privacy-first business model, it will:

  • not collect any of your data.
  • use end-to-end encryption, so only you (or those for which you collaborate) can view the content of a document.
  • not allow third-party access.

Proton Docs puts you in control of your data, meaning not even Proton can view your documents. As far as features are concerned, Proton Docs includes:

  • Sharing and invitations to collaborate
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Being able to see who else is viewing or editing a document
  • Comments and replies
  • Import and export

The most important feature, however, is the open-source, end-to-end encryption that ensures your information is safe. Although Google employs strong 256-bit AES encryption on its Drive servers, those documents are not end-to-end encrypted. That means Google can read your files. OneDrive and iCloud also don't employ E2EE, so if you need to ensure only you (and/or your collaborators) can view the content, Proton Docs should be a welcome option.

Proton Docs is rolling out to Proton accounts starting today and should find its way to your account within the next few weeks. I logged into my account and found it had yet to appear -- I can upload files to my Proton Drive account, but I cannot edit them (yet). Hopefully, the rollout will be quick, so that anyone with a Proton account (even the free version) gets access to Proton Docs soon.

As for Proton Docs features, you can expect markdown and rich text support, code blocks and checklists, support for multiple file types, add/reply/resolve to comments, and more.

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