PRODUCTIVITY SUITE Google Drive now has the capacity to support third-party add-ons for the first time.
Google has enabled a new tab within Docs and Sheets allowing access to a range of extensions. On its Drive blog, Google helpfully said, "To help take some of that work off your shoulders, today we're launching add-ons - new tools created by developer partners that give you even more features in your documents and spreadsheets."
Among the launch extensions, which feature some well established brands, are mail merging from Mailchimp, label printing from Avery and, for anyone who has to deal with the UK government, fax support from Hello Fax. Many of these extensions were originally Google Apps available from the Chrome Store that have been adapted to run directly from Google Drive.
Other extensions bring support for instant bibliographies, mind mapping, change tracking, Twitter curation and acronym logging.
The add-ons feature works like the extensions in the Chrome web browser - once enabled they become automatically available across all documents and spreadsheets.
Of course, as well as expanding the Google Docs offering, which has remained relatively stagnant in recent years, Google has found more income streams with the extensions through subscription offerings, in-app purchasing and cross-product advertising.
This move also represents a significant escalation in Google's battle for the cloud productivity market against Microsoft's Office 365, which is now being rolled out to the Houses of Parliament.
Microsoft recently announced its Social Graph feature aimed at collaboration and context aware provision of information. µ