Extensibility Comes to Google Docs and Sheets on Android

Posted on July 28, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Office 365, Android, Office with 1 Comment

Extensibility Comes to Google Docs and Sheets on Android

Following in the footsteps of Microsoft, Google is bringing extensibility functionality to the Android versions of its Docs and Sheets apps. But Google’s Docs and Sheets add-ons aren’t as sophisticated as what Microsoft provides, and they aren’t cross-platform.

“We know many of you consider your mobile device as your primary tool to consume business information, but what if you could use it to get more work done, from anywhere?” Google’s Saurabh Gupta writes. “We’re excited to introduce Android add-ons for Docs and Sheets, a new way for you to do just that—whether it’s readying a contract you have for e-signature from your phone, or pulling in CRM data on your tablet for some quick analysis while waiting for your morning coffee, Android add-ons can help you accomplish more.”

I assume I don’t need to explain why this kind of extensibility support is important, but let’s give credit where credit is due: Microsoft provides amazing extensibility functionality for its Office applications—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on—as well as for Outlook, and you can get add-ons that work across a wide range of platforms, including the web, Windows (Win32), mobile (Windows, Android, iOS) and the Mac. Outlook add-ons will work across (the new) Outlook.com, Outlook on the web (Office 365 commercial versions) and Outlook 2016.

Google is doing things a bit differently. The firm already offers add-on support for Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms on the web, but the Android app versions are completely separate and are deployed, basically, as apps. (There’s no word yet if Docs and Sheets on iOS will be updated to support this functionality and, if so, whether those add-ins will be completely separate from the Android versions.)

Anyway, on Android, the Docs and Sheets add-ins we see today come from “eight integration partners,” and includes such solutions as DocuSign, ProsperWorks (CRM import), and Scanbot (OCR-based scanning), among others. You can find Google Docs and Sheets for Android add-ons in the Google Play Store., or from the menus in the apps.

Right now, I’m not sure if this is all that impressive. But it’s something I’ll keep an eye on, given the obvious threat to Microsoft Office.


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