Google’s range of document formats in Drive have a lot of use for journalists, as the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism’s director of education, Jeremy Caplan, describes in this Google doc.
Google forms are particularly useful in crowdsourcing information and automatically organising it into a spreadsheet, so have been used by Pro Publica, for example, to gather information and sources around stories or by Digital First Media to canvas opinion within organisation about future plans.
Google forms are public by default, so if the questions or topics are sensitive for any reason the platform is a bit of a non-starter.
On his Digital Inspiration blog, Amit Agarwal has posted a simple how-to guide on password protecting Google forms from within the form itself. It is not 100 per cent secure, as Agarwal explains, but will deter any passing visitors.