Back in March, Google announced a feature that fans of the world’s most popular email service have been requesting for years. With the new feature at hand, Gmail users will no longer have to rely on clunky browser add-ons for adding functionality to their email accounts. After this developer preview becomes widely available, Gmail accounts will support add-ons that follow users across any device.
In other words, business users will be able to access functions from their favourite apps without cycling through separate application to find what they need. Although the new add-ons are aimed towards enterprise users, Google has stated that they will eventually be released for consumers accounts.
Flexibility across all platforms and devices
As a cloud-based platform, G Suite already operates independently of your device or operating system, and the new Gmail Add-ons feature is no exception. Once you’ve installed an add-on to your account, it will be enabled on every device you use to access Gmail, whether it’s a desktop Web browser or the Android or iOS mobile app. Because the add-ons are now run through Gmail rather than through your web browser, you’ll no longer need to worry about installing the add-on to each of your devices.
As we’ve come to expect from Google, all of this will be based on a simple card-based system and app-scripting language that allows developers to quickly and easily develop add-ons that conform to certain standards. The idea is that any add-on designed for Gmail will provide familiar user interfaces. For busy business users, this is ideal because they’ll be able to access important functions from any device — even if it’s not one of their own.
Up until now, the only option for integrating third-party app functionality with Gmail was to install browser-specific add-ons. Unsurprisingly, this is hardly an efficient method, since the add-ons work only with the browser they’re installed on. Also, compatibility problems arise almost every time a browser or operating system is updated.
Among the developers already working on releasing a Gmail add-on is Intuit, developer of the industry-leading accounting software QuickBooks. Once it is integrated, small-business customers will be able to create and send invoices without leaving the Gmail webpage or app. There will also be a function to check the status of an invoice with the tap of a button.
Salesforce is also developing an add-on that will allow users to look up contacts, add new ones and filter any associated emails. The app will be particularly well-suited to busy business users who need to follow up with potential leads, provide after-sales support, and much more. As such, users will be better equipped to identify and nurture new business opportunities wherever they are.
A popular CRM platform, as well as one of our own partners, ProsperWorks is another company developing a Gmail add-on. This integration will help users check the contact information of existing and future customers that they have stored in Gmail against those they have stored in their CRM. Ultimately, the add-on should help alleviate communication issues that arise because of incorrect contact information.
Developers can sign up for the developer preview of Gmail Add-ons right away, and Google is planning to start sending out invitations to join the early access programme shortly.
Other updates to G Suite services
The new Gmail add-ons aren’t the only things Google has in store for business users in the coming months. Google recently released new enterprise-ready tools for Google Drive users, important updates to the popular Hangouts messaging and conferencing service, as well as to Gmail itself.
Affording business users an easy way to meet face-to-face with customers and co-workers by way of HD video conferencing, Hangouts is streamlining its interface and retiring the outdated Google Talk. More importantly, the update introduces two new experiences – Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet — to make meetings and team collaboration easier.
Would you like to find out more about how your business can take advantage of Google’s Gmail add-ons and other functions? Give us a call today to find out how we can make your migration to the cloud easier than ever.