GOOGLE HAS launched third-party add-ons for its ever-popular Gmail service.
Whilst some have been available for GSuite, and there are lots of plug-ins (which aren't the same thing) this is the first time that anyone can add in popular business tools to their email account from the Big G.
Launch partners include team task manager Asana, VOIP services Dialpad and RingCentral, HR tool Hire, Quickbooks accounting, sales tools Properworks and Streak, Project managers Trello and Smartsheet, with secure signature tool Docusign ‘coming soon'.
Google explains, "For many of us, email is mission control—the prompt to generate an invoice, prepare a presentation or follow up on a sales opportunity. With so many to-dos, imagine if you could complete these tasks directly from your inbox without interrupting your workflow.
"We believe email can do more, which is why we're launching Gmail Add-ons, a new way to work with your favourite business apps directly in Gmail."
The add-ons can be accessed from a new option in the settings menu of the Gmail window, and are expected to be useful for small businesses using Gmail as their main mail client.
Many of these partners already have integration with Google Docs, Sheets and Drive, as well is Chrome extensions, but this deeper integration will allow a closer relationship between email and productivity tools.
Once add-ons are set up on the web, they will ‘follow' from machine to machine and even onto Android devices without further calibration.
Additionally, Gmail can ‘contextually see' what app you need to focus on using some clever AI and the contents of your mail.
These first partners have all worked alongside Google, but if you want to create one, there's nothing to stop you. A Gmail add-ons framework was also released yesterday.
Many of the functions can already be achieved through native features in Google's experimental Inbox interface, but Google continues to recognise that isn't for everyone, especially as it would require all parties to agree to use it. As such, third-party add-ons are going to be a huge boon to teams, particularly those working across multiple sites. µ
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