Google Drive launching third-party add-ons program for Docs, Sheets

Google Drive launching third-party add-ons program for Docs, Sheets

Summary: This isn't the first time that the Google Drive team has put the spotlight on its third-party ecosystem, increasingly becoming an advertising point for cloud services providers.

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Google Drive users can soon look forward to a host of new tools for the Docs and Sheets apps, but they don't necessarily come from the Internet giant itself.

The Chrome maker is launching new online marketplaces dedicated to add-ons, introducing new editing and formatting functionality when producing documents or spreadsheets.

The program is still in developer preview mode, but it is gearing up to launch with more than 50 add-ons in tow, all built by partners using Google Apps Script.

Some provided examples of the add-ons that should be ready soon include more tools for mail merge and customized emails, importing names and addresses for printing labels, and a bibliography genie.

Dan Lazin, a technical writer for the Google Apps team, explained further in a blog post on Tuesday that the tools and APIs for add-ons are available to everyone. The Google Apps team only steps in ahead of final publication to the store.

From there, developers can submit working prototypes of add-ons to Google Apps for admission. At launch, Google has 25 add-on partners. Add-ons will do everything from print labels to customize emails. For instance, PandaDoc is an add-on that allows you to create legally binding documents with digital signatures, notations and other features. 

This isn't the first time that the Google Drive team has put the spotlight on its third-party ecosystem, increasingly becoming an advertising point for cloud services providers from Salesforce.com to Box and Dropbox, among many more.

Just a little over a year ago, Google reformatted the Drive sidebar menu so that "Drive-connected" apps would be displayed at the same level as Google-produced apps such as Docs and Sheets.

Google has also been busy targeting corporate Google Apps users this week. On Monday, the Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered company introduced a new referral program rewarding $15 bonus per new user subscription. The program suggests a new strategy in taking on Microsoft Office 365.

For another look at the Google Docs and Sheets Add-Ons, check out the promo video below:

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Screenshot via the Google Drive blog

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apps, Cloud, Google, Google Apps

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15 comments
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  • That may help them

    become decent tools. Right now they are are sub-par at best.
    ScanBack
    • You need to provide context for the descrption "sub par".

      I find office "sub par" in the ease-of-use and productivity for my basic needs. I doubt I have touched 2% of MS office's capabilities in 15 years at a desk. For me its a waste of time, money and resources.
      Great product though!
      drwong
      • that is what m$ is counting on

        They hope that people never use the advertised features and realize that they do not work as advertised. I remember a while ago trying to use word as a document publishing tool- DON'T ! It is a complete joke.

        Layout simply does not work and it makes you work ten times as hard to get a simple thing done and then when you add another object, the process repeats itself. It doesn't have a concept of frames at all.

        Even scribus, a free tool, runs circles around m$ word.
        GrabBoyd
        • "m$"?

          Don't let your irrational hatred towards Microsoft cloud your judgement.

          Office is considered one of the best productivity suites for a reason.

          If you think that a tool like Scribus can replace it, good for you.

          Just because you have low standards, doesn't mean that all of us do.

          Opinions are like arses, everybody has one.
          ForeverCookie
          • Yup

            Shows that some people still haven't grown up.
            Gisabun
        • You're the kind of person G$$gle is counting on

          You're not looking for the best tool, just anything that isn't from MS.
          William.Farrel
          • wrong! Will people stop using terms like "best", without any context?

            MS Office is not "best" for me, after over 15 years of using it. Why don't you have a cray supercomputer in your house but instead a limited "personal computer". The supercomputer is certainly "best", right? Why, how can you get a decent weather forecast without running your own computer models?
            deathjazz
  • I'll stay with Office

    Looks like something an intern did..

    I'll stay with Office 2013. The online version is great as well, plus it integrates nicely with OneDrive
    1blogger
  • One good feature

    I find that having that bibliography feature would be very helpful. Word should have some similar - an app that can be installed from the Store - both for the RT and the non-RT formats.
    crystalsoldier
    • It does . . .

      "I find that having that bibliography feature would be very helpful. Word should have some similar . . ."

      Try the "references" tab.

      For now, Microsoft has taken a "put everything in you'll ever need" approach to features in their Office apps. You'd actually be pretty hard pressed to find something they can't do.
      CobraA1
      • Please explain

        Well, the References tab in Word 2013 does allow for citations (various styles), but there appears to be no way to search on the Web and include those citations - like how the video in the article shows. Of course, I could be missing this - if you know how to do this, please do tell. Thanks.
        crystalsoldier
        • Didn't watch the entire video . . .

          Humm, didn't watch the entire video - my sound was kinda broken. Interesting.
          CobraA1
  • I have tried two of them; both of them claimed that they were free but it

    turns out for full features they need you to go pro! Google should put a policy on that so we know if it is completely free, half free or not free at all!
    L3thargic
  • If this works the same as other Google products...

    And then after we've put add-ons in lots of our documents and spreadsheets, Google will inexplicably deprecate them, just like they did with the Docs Gadgets that no longer work.

    And then they'll shutdown Google Docs altogether and it will be reborn in dumbed-down form as a Google+ feature that displays all your old files publicly on your profile until you opt-out.

    Crap, I shouldn't give them any ideas.
    alphabetadelta
  • Third party add-ons ...

    ... in the Google sphere usually equal malware.
    [Note: I have an Android phone - so I don't hate Google - just an obvious fact about the malware part.]
    Gisabun