The archaeology of great writing

Draftback promo image
What is Draftback?

Draftback is a unique Chrome extension designed to provide a playback of the revision history of any editable Google Doc, akin to travelling back in time during the writing process. Aside from giving a new perspective of viewing data, Draftback ensures user data privacy by not sharing data with third parties and limiting data access to docs.google.com to fetch the necessary revision data.

Stats date:
Rating: 4.21 (108)
Version: 0.0.15 (Last updated: 2022-02-14)
Creation date: 2020-08-01
Manifest version: 2
  • *://docs.google.com/*
Size: 954.37K
Email: Click to see
URLs: Website
Risk impact: Moderate risk impact
Risk likelihood: Low risk likelihood

Other platforms

Not available on Firefox
Not available on Edge

Draftback lets you play back the revision history of any Google Doc you can edit. It's like going back in time to look over your own shoulder as you write.


I designed the extension to be as careful as possible about user privacy. No data is collected by me, except in one unusual case: if a user explicitly decides to publish an excerpt of their playback to draftback.com, that excerpt will (obviously) be available on the public web at an obscure URL. This feature is hard to find, little-used, and after a recent update may in fact not work anymore.

It's possible that Google itself collects some user data on every one of its extensions, in which case Draftback wouldn't be an exception.

But, to reiterate, user data is stored locally on the user's computer and it is only stored/collected there so that future replays of an already-replayed document will go faster.


  • With Draftback, your data is kept entirely private. Draftback was purposely designed so that you could play back your own docs without having to share them with a third party. This is -your- data; Draftback just lets you see it in a new way.

  • Draftback only needs access to docs.google.com to get the revision data for playback—but that data never leaves your own browser.

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User reviews
User reviews summary
These summaries are automatically generated weekly using AI based on recent user reviews. Chrome Web Store does not verify user reviews, so some user reviews may be inaccurate, spammy, or outdated.
  • Works well for educational purpose, especially for teachers to check for plagiarism
  • Useful for analyzing one's own writing style and habits
  • Can recover lost work
  • Provides good visual summary of writing progress
  • Issues with rendering tables, bulleted lists and formatting changes
  • Some users reported problems with the extension spinning but not progressing
  • There was concern about privacy as deletions in a shared document can be seen
  • Struggles to keep track of all changes accurately
Most mentioned
  • Potential issues with accurately rendering the document
  • User-friendly tool for educational purpose
  • Extension sometimes doesn’t work or spins indefinitely
View all user reviews
Risk impact

Draftback may not be safe to use and it requires some risky permissions. Exercise caution when installing this extension. Review carefully before installing.

Risk likelihood

Draftback has earned a fairly good reputation and likely can be trusted.

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