Adobe Debuts eSignatures, Takes Digital Signatures To The Cloud

This Friday, Adobe unveils the public beta version of eSignatures, a cloud-based service that lets you easily add your John Hancock to documents online. Upload your document, insert the recipient’s e-mail, select a date, insert a message and then sign. The finished document is certified to ensure that it hasn’t been altered since the signature— if it is modified in any way the certification tag disappears. The process is dead simple (it took me less than two minutes from start to finish) and best of all, it’s free.

According to an Adobe source, eSignatures may eventually be integrated into the service since they share many of the same underlying technologies (an integration with may also open up monetization opportunities).

Here’s a look:

This is not Adobe’s first foray into the digital signature market. The company has managed digital signatures for large banks and governmental organizations, through products like Adobe LiveCycle. However, as Paul McNamara (Adobe entrepreneur in residence) points out in the company’s blog, Adobe LifeCycle required “sophisticated computer infrastructure that’s often beyond the reach of small businesses and individuals. And therein lies the opportunity — take our LiveCycle signature technology, put it in the cloud and simplify it to make it easy for everyday signatures.”

The potential cost savings could be huge, Adobe estimates that $7.4 billion is spent annually on overnight shipping for signed documents. What’s more interesting is how Adobe eSignatures venture will impact the other companies in this space like EchoSign and DocuSign (which recently raised $2 million in additional funding late last year).