15 milestones, moments and more for Google Docs’ 15th birthday

In 2005, an easy-to-use, online word processor called Writely launched. A year later, the collaborative writing tool became part of Google, and over time it evolved into Google Docs. Officially launched to the world in 2006, Google Docs is a core part of Google Workspace. It’s also, as of today, 15 years old. But it wasn’t always so obvious how useful — and loved — Docs would become.

Jen Mazzon was part of the original Docs team, or the Google Writely Team as it was then called. “Everyone told us it was crazy to try and give people a way to access their documents from anywhere — not to mention share documents instantly, or collaborate online within their browser,” she wrote in a March 2006 blog post. “But that’s exactly what we did.”

As a much-deserved gift to Docs, here are 15 things about Google Docs that we’re celebrating — from important moments to tips and tricks, there’s a lot to love.

  1. In 2010, Docs got its first big update, adding things like the ability to see others editing and writing in shared documents and better importing features.
  2. Internally, the Docs team has breakfast-themed names for the widgets you see when you edit in Docs. For instance, the yellow messages up at the top are called “butter,” and the dialogs that pop out from the bottom right corner are called “toasts” because they pop out of a corner just like toast popping out from an upright toaster. The red error message at the top? That’s “ketchup.”
  3. When COVID-19 sent students and educators home, we shared ways they could make use of features like offline Docs and real-time commenting to keep learning and collaboration going remotely.
  4. Lizzo and Sad13 used Google Docs to write music together, and they let us in on their creative process.
  5. There was that time when none other than the Reading Rainbow team designed a book report template for Docs, which you can still use today.
  6. Laura Mae Martin, Google’s Chief Productivity Advisor, always knows the best ways to get the most out of Docs. She shares her tips and tricks regularly on her YouTube channel.
  7. In 2018, the Docs team came up with an Easter egg: Typing #blackhistorymonth into a Doc would trigger Explore in your doc, with information about Black history and the Black community.


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