Gmail is the most famous email service, so the lack of Gmail Add-ons for other known third-party services made little sense. On October 24th, 2017, Google finally decided to add native extensions, that will allow us to integrate services like Trello, Asana, and others, into our favorite webmail client. Below we will explain how to use the new Gmail Add-ons, and how efficient they can be.
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Gmail feels “old”
If you have had a Gmail account for a few years, you may have realized by now that Google hasn’t updated it in a while.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is probably sound advice for a service used by more than half a billion people. However, the interface looks outdated, and the lack of integrations was restrictive for those that want more than just an email client.
In 2015, Google introduced Inbox by Gmail, an email web client that was meant to serve as a different type of interface for Gmail.
Inbox is still available today, and it has a unique and modern design, along with exclusive grouping capabilities that aim to improve email organization and productivity on several levels.
Although it never managed to win over a significant portion of Gmail users, Inbox is Google’s attempt to modernize and improve the good ol’ Gmail.
In the process, the company realized that a modern UI wasn’t the only feature missing. Users around the globe have been asking for app integrations since forever, and Google announced earlier this year that it would grant us this wish.
Thus, the Gmail Add-ons were born.
How Gmail Add-ons can improve productivity
It is true that some of us check our emails every day - maybe more than once a day.
It is apparent that we spend a lot of time in our inbox, answering to customers, asking for support, reporting our progress in various projects, checking the latest offers on Amazon, and the list goes on.
Besides email, it is certain that we use other apps as well that need our daily attention, such as to-do apps, task management services, chat clients; you get the point.
As a result, sometimes we have to react to an email and create a task for it or complete a project after we sent a message to a co-worker. There are numerous scenarios where we need to switch between those apps, and this can be inconvenient. Besides, it requires more effort and time.
With Gmail Add-ons, we can now work with our favorite business apps directly through our inbox, without wasting time between different tabs on our browser or apps on a smartphone.
Available Gmail Add-ons for popular services
For now, the most interesting add-ons are Trello and Asana for Gmail, regarding task management apps.
Other integrations involve Dialpad, Wrike, and Hire.
We can find all the Gmail Add-ons in Google’s G Suite Marketplace.
The Gmail Add-ons are available for both Android and the web version of Gmail. However, there isn’t any support for iOS yet, and it is not clear when the Gmail Add-ons will arrive on Apple’s devices.
Are there plans for more extensions in the future?
Since the Gmail Add-ons are relatively new, we won't find so many integrations yet. However, developers are currently building more add-ons to expand the rather small list.
Furthermore, if you happen to be a developer, you are free to create your own add-ons for your company or organization. The necessary tools to start making Gmail Add-ons are available here.
How to use Gmail Add-ons
Since Gmail syncs across all our devices, once we set the settings for our Gmail Add-ons, they will be available everywhere.
Let’s see how we can install and use any Gmail Add-ons on our browser. The process is the same for Android devices.
First, we need to open our Gmail and head to the gear icon. From there, we choose “Get add-ons.”
A "G Suite Marketplace" window will pop out, where we can pick whatever suits our needs.
For this guide, we chose to install Trello for Gmail, since we are already using the service for personal purposes. All we have to do from now is click on the Install button.
Then, we click on “Continue” to permit Trello to access our Gmail.
We will need to use our Trello (or any other app we used) credentials, and once again choose to allow the app to run.
A few moments later…
...our app is installed successfully.
How to interact with the new add-on
Now, every time we open a message, we will see the Trello icon on the newly-created right sidebar.
When we click it for the first time, we need to give permissions again - this time for Trello.
From now on, we can proceed with adding any card to Trello, regarding the email we received, without having to exit from Gmail or switch tabs.
The content of the email will automatically be added in the description section, but we can edit it on the fly before we hit the Add button.
We can view our card now...
...or we can keep processing our inbox. That is the whole point of the integration after all. If we had to switch tabs now to see the card, that would beat the purpose, wouldn’t it?
The rest of the integrations work in the same way. Once we install them, we can access them from the panel on the right, and there is no limitation as to how many we can install in the same inbox.
Can I uninstall an add-on?
That’s a good question. With a first glance, we couldn’t find any uninstall button, either in the Marketplace or on Gmail’s new sidebar.
However, once we navigated to the client’s settings, we had access to the Add-ons tab.
From there, we just find the add-on we want to remove and click on “Manage.”
There’s a three-dot menu button we need to press…
...and we will see the Remove option.
Do you use any Gmail Add-ons?
As we saw, Google finally took the step to enhance the Gmail service with various interactions between other popular services.
Did you find Gmail Add-ons useful? Are you looking forward to a new Gmail Add-on that is not available yet? Would you like to know more about Google’s Inbox?
Tell us your opinion in the comment section below.
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