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Gmail Gets Native Add-Ons to Become More Business-Friendly

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Google has brought native add-ons to Gmail to make its email service more engaging and useful for businesses. The new addition was first announced back in March to let third-party developers bring their services directly to Gmail.

Unlike browser extensions that are limited to a particular environment, Gmail add-ons are specifically designed to let enterprise users access their go-to apps across the Web and mobile devices. Services like Asana, Trello, DialPad, Intuit and QuickBooks were among the initial partners. However, the present list of add-ons includes Hire, ProsperWorks, RingCentral and Streak. A special DocuSign add-on is also in the pipeline to enable signing and execution of contracts, agreements and other documents right in Gmail.

“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,” writes Aakash Sahney, product manager for Gmail, in a blog post.

If you are an existing G Suite or Gmail user, you can check out all the available add-ons from the G Suite Marketplace. Gmail has also added a section called “Get Add-Ons” that you can access by clicking the settings wheel from the top-right of the email client to install the required add-ons with a single click. Initially, the add-ons are accessible on the Web and Android devices, though Google is working to bring support for the iOS app as well.

Developers have been provided with a framework to let them integrate their apps within Gmail. The framework works with context cards that can include simple text as well as dialogues, images, links, buttons and forms. It is worth noting here that while developers can build their add-ons using the available framework, their developments cannot reach the masses instantly. They need to fill out a submission form that will be reviewed by the Gmail team.

The fresh development will give enterprises another reason to switch to Gmail. It would also make the competition tougher for Microsoft’s Outlook that already supports add-ins.