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This repo contains two related tools:

  1. The CoLaboratory Chrome App.

  2. CoLaboratory with Classic Jupyter Kernels.

Both of these create and store notebooks in Google Drive and allow for
collaborative editing of notebooks. The difference is that the Chrome
App executes all code inside the Chrome browser using the
PNaCl Sandbox),
while coLaboratory Classic executes code via local Jupyter kernels
(such as the IPython kernel) that have complete access to the host
system and files.


First clone this repo:

git clone --recursive

Installing CoLaboratory Classic Frontend for Local IPython Kernels


cd colaboratory
pip install -r requirements.txt

to install the dependencies.

NOTE: This must be run from the colaboratory directory.

If you did not use the --recursive flag when cloning, you will get errors like:

[tornado.access] WARNING | 404 GET /static/closure/css/common.css

To fix this, run git submodule init && git submodule update.

Start IPython notebook:

python -m colaboratory

This launches the web application.

Navigate to in your browser.

Installing the CoLaboratory Chrome App


python colaboratory/

This creates an unpacked Chrome App, in the build_chrome/ directory.

To install this app in Chrome, follow the instructions for installing an unpacked extension
(extensions are apps for these purposes), at
The extension is located in colaboratory/build_chrome/.


Chrome Browser Version

The Chrome App requires Chrome Beta (or Dev, Unstable or Canary), as it relies of bug fixes that are not available in the Stable channel yet.

IPython Version

If you already had IPython installed, and the version you had installed was not 2.x, then Colaboratory will not work. You can either upgrade (or downgrade) to 2.x, or use virtual env. To check the version of IPython you have installed, run ipython --version.

Loading Python Libraries

Currently there is no way to install new libraries in the PNaCl kernel.

Running from

The website can be used for interactive editing of notebooks, but cannot yet connect to a local kernel. This is due to https issues that we are currently working on. However, running the Classic frontend as described above already works, as the website runs on localhost.

The Collaboration Model

CoLaboratory's collaboration model is evolving. The current model is a single collaborative notebook with separate kernels. This can lead to a mismatch between a user's kernel state and the state of the notebook.

To understand how a state mismatch can manifest, consider the scenario below. Bob and Sue are working on the same notebook at the same time. Both Bob and Sue will have their own kernel state. Bobs changes will change the notebook Sue sees, but Sue's state is unchanged. If sue tries to access the variable Bob created, she will get an error.

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