Google Apps Add-Ons

by Sarah Hines

Google just rolled out an exciting new option for Google Drive: Add-ons. Confused? Here’s the skinny:

What are Docs Add-ons?
Experimental, third-party tools which expand the functionality of Google documents. Yes, just documents (docs and sheets) for now, but we’re excited to see what follows.

Who do they apply to?
Both general Google Drive accounts and Google Apps Drive accounts: everyone can play!

What’s the point?
It’s handy to have some extra functionality, and as more people use it, the services it connects to will expand. This will allow you to grow your document application functionality to what you need, keeping it mean and lean and perfect for you.

What’s coolest right now?
This is our current list of favorites, though they just came out so check the Add-On store for the highest rated:

  • Thesaurus – gives drop-down synonym options
  • Track Changes – gives you the tracking changes functionality you might miss from Microsoft Word
  • HelloFax – to send occasional faxes straight from Google Drive
  • Ultradox – a lightweight mail-merge tool for up to 250 emails and 50 pdfs
  • Mapping Sheets – take a spreadsheet of addresses, and create a custom Google Map

What should we be concerned about?
When you add an add-on, you give some permissions to the application to access your data. We’re not sure how good security will be, and whether anyone will be able to misuse those permissions, but it’s something to consider. Especially as some developers might not restrict their add-ons’ permissions to just the content they need to access. Also, we don’t adore the Google Apps add-on store interface, so finding the right add-on for what you need and ensuring it has quality reviews might be hard. It’s also easy to forget the add-ons are there, but they’re worth checking out!

In the Office with S&J

About Sarah Hines

Lead Web Mechanic

Sarah serves as our technical/programming lead and project manager. Her 14 years in web development allow her to empathetically explain the hows and whys of technical pieces to non-geeks so they understand what they’re making a decision about. Behind the scenes she’s programming, troubleshooting code, managing the servers and juggling our technical contractors. With clients, she starts conversations with her good-humored, energetic approach and is consistently bringing pragmatic new ideas to the table while keeping client budgets and goals in check. When she isn't hooked into her computer, she’s adventuring with her constant doggy companion, Pepper or pursuing her varied obsessions such as self-tracking, raising chickens, and tiny house construction.

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