Software

Gmail add-ons boost productivity with third-party app integration

The new Gmail add-ons feature will allow users to interact directly with a separate app from within Gmail, enabling more work to get done without leaving the app.

Enterprise app developers can now integrate the functionality of their app into Gmail, thanks to a new feature called Gmail add-ons, announced via a Google blog post on Tuesday.

The new add-ons will serve two purposes: Expanding the capabilities of Gmail beyond a simple "reply" or "forward," while also allowing users to perform specific tasks related to other apps without interrupting their workflow or making them leave the Gmail app. The feature was announced in preview back in March, as companies began working on their own integrations.

"With Gmail Add-ons, your inbox can contextually surface your go-to app based on messages you receive to help you get things done faster. And because add-ons work the same across web and Android, you only need to install them once to access them on all of your devices," the post said.

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Users will be able to access the new add-ons feature from their Gmail settings. Simply click the gear-shaped Settings wheel at the top right of your inbox, and then click the "Get add-ons" option.

The Gmail add-ons feature is launching with integrations from Asana, Dialpad, Hire, Intuit QuickBooks, ProsperWorks, RingCentral, Smartsheet, Streak, Trello, and Wrike, the post said. DocuSign integration is also coming soon.

The actual tasks that can be accomplished through the add-ons are varied. The Asana integration, for example, will create trackable lists from communications between team members, or between an employee and a client, the post said. Additionally, the QuickBooks Invoicing add-on allows users to create and send invoices directly in Gmail, the post said.

For developers, the code for their integration will only need to be written once for it to work across both Android and the web, the post said. For G Suite shops that regularly use email in conjunction with a proprietary app, it may be worth investing in developing an add-on for Gmail.

Tools like add-ons will be critical to Gmail furthering its adoption in the enterprise. Google has released a host of security features for Gmail recently, and now it is tackling productivity, in hopes of showing professionals that Gmail can go toe-to-toe with legacy players like Outlook.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Google released Gmail add-ons, which allow developers to integrate their app functionality directly with Gmail.
  2. The new features will allow professionals to accomplish tasks for third-party apps, like creating an invoice or uploading a resume, without ever leaving the Gmail app.
  3. Developers can write their add-on code once, and it will work across Android and the web, a Google blog post said.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/nevarpp

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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