Google Colab resources

This page provides some useful resources about Google Colab.

What is Colaboratory (Colab)?

Colaboratory, or “Colab” for short, is a product from Google Research.

Colab allows anybody to write and execute arbitrary python code through the browser, and is especially well suited to machine learning, data analysis and education. More technically, Colab is a hosted Jupyter notebook service that requires no setup to use, while providing free access to computing resources including GPUs.

Yes. Colab is free to use.

The Basics



What is the difference between Jupyter and Colab?

Jupyter is the open source project on which Colab is based.

Colab allows you to use and share Jupyter notebooks with others without having to download, install, or run anything.


Where are my notebooks stored, and can I share them?

Colab notebooks are stored in Google Drive, or can be loaded from GitHub.

Colab notebooks can be shared just as you would with Google Docs or Sheets. Simply click the Share button at the top right of any Colab notebook, or follow these Google Drive file sharing instructions.

If I share my notebook, what will be shared?

If you choose to share a notebook, the full contents of your notebook (text, code, output, and comments) will be shared. You can omit code cell output from being saved or shared by using Edit > Notebook settings > Omit code cell output when saving this notebook. The virtual machine you’re using, including any custom files and libraries that you’ve setup, will not be shared. So it’s a good idea to include cells which install and load any custom libraries or files that your notebook needs.


Can I import an existing Jupyter/IPython notebook into Colab?

Yes. Choose “Upload notebook” from the File menu.


**Is it safe to do closed source code on Google Colab?

Q: I have some code that I can’t open source. Is it safe to use Google Colab ? Or should I go with the “whatever you put on the cloud, specially with Google, don’t expect it to be safe”-mind ?

A1: It’s safe, at least as safe as your private Google Doc is.

No one can access your own private Colab notebooks. And Google has the incentive to make it as safe as possible for their reputation. Because, they need to sell GCP to business.

Google said its Google Drive is secure. This article is probably more informative.

A2: “Safe” is all about trade offs. It’s about how much convenience you’re willing to sacrifice for how much security. Closed door without a lock is safer than an open door way, a locked and bolted door is even safer, replacing that door with a 1 foot thick slab of metal is even safer, but is probably overkill unless you’re a bank.

Similarly, “Is Colab safe for closed source” depends on what your threat model is. Who is coming after your code? If you’re a hobbyist or working by yourself, Colab is probably great.

However, if you’re a company with many employees and are worried about hackers tricking your employees into sharing their code, or if you want to ensure notebooks stay secret even from other employees outside a single team, then you may want a more secure notebook platform.

Google made Colab as the platform for students and hobbyists, but they’ve also made AI Platform Notebooks as the platform for serious enterprise users with the heavier requirements.

*Colab Pro



Credits and further reading lists

Colab FAQ

Colab Pro FAQ