Skip to content

Googlers at I/O – Interview with Jonathan Rochelle (Co-Founder of Google Docs)

3 minute read

General Google Apps Blue

Jonathan Rochelle

Here’s the transcript from my interview with Googler Jonathan Rochelle last week at Google I/O ’13.  Jonathan is the Product Management Director of Collaborative Web Products at Google (which includes Docs, Sites and Apps Script).

Jonathan joined Google in 2005 as part of the acquisition of 2Web Technologies, where he was the co-founder and CEO. In 2006, he co-founded Google Docs and Spreadsheets, which was later expanded to become Google Drive.

GG: There have been a few recent updates to Apps Script, is there one particular feature or update that you’re most excited about?


“I think the integration of the Forms API with Apps Script is going to be huge. Forms has so many use cases and it’s just incredible what people are doing with it. It’s basically just another way to build an app. So I think with Apps Script it’s just going to make it more accessible.”

GG: How about from a general Drive perspective?


“The idea of 3rd-party apps in Drive is probably the most important concept. Making the platform so other apps can exist there. So, as an example, you’ll see something like ‘floorplanner’ that’s suddenly a really popular app because so many people are using them. So for me, that’s the most important foundation that has changed and it’s just getting stronger and stronger. We’re seeing very strong usage and growth across a broad variety of apps.”

GG: Are there any Drive features you feel don’t get enough attention by the average user, or you would suggest more people start using?


“That’s a good question. We do see a lot of usage of folders, but I think there could always be more.

I actually think something really simple, which is the description field. You can actually enter a description for any file. It’s literally another field that’s really hard to find. You can basically throw terminology in there – even hashtags. So it’s a way to almost alternatively label things in Drive. I think it’s something that is really simple and under-used, so we should do more to surface it.

The other one, to be honest, is sharing. I think people don’t understand that you can share more easily if you set your sharing settings to ‘Anyone with a link.’ It’s not as secure as sharing a file with someone directly, but it’s still pretty secure.”

GG: I was talking about that with someone the other day, it’s no less secure than attaching a file to an email (the legacy way).


“Right. It’s very similar the same because they’re not going to find it unless somebody sends it to them. And you get a little more control because you can specify only ‘View’ access.”

GG: Do you have any thoughts about the direction of Drive going forward?


“Overall, mobile and offline are two of our critical things. For us, it’s completing the matrix. So you have all of the apps available offline and mobile, so that’s a thing we’ve been talking about. And we’ll get there, no doubt about it. The platform is going to continue to expand and get better, and I think generally Drive as a UI will get better to manage your content. People will enjoy using the product, rather than just feel it’s  a utility. It will be much more robust.”

Sign up for our newsletter