New Gmail Tools Easily Merge Data with Other Apps

John Lister's picture

Gmail users can now add third-party tools to merge email messages with other programs - without the need to manually load a specific app, then copy and paste data. The idea is similar to using browser extensions on a web browser, but will likely raise privacy and security concerns.

Google already has its own tools that connect Gmail with other services. For example, users who receive a message confirming a flight booking or restaurant reservation can often add the relevant information to their Google Calendar tool with a single click. The Google Translate tool is also built in to Gmail.

Now Google says that "with Gmail Add-ons, your inbox can contextually surface your go-to app based on messages you receive." In other words, users can activate the add-ons and then when they get a relevant message, the appropriate options will appear with the relevant information already filled in.

Initial Tools More For Business

For example, if somebody uses "Trello," (a to-do list tool), they will get the option to automatically add an "action" - such as a request to call somebody - to the to-do list. (Source:

At launch, most of the available tools are aimed more at businesses than consumers. Among the offerings are options to add details from a job application to a human resources app, add or retrieve information from a spreadsheet, and create and send invoices with an accounting tool without needing to open the accounting app each time.

Range Of Tools Should Expand

Google wants developers to come up with other ideas and has made it comparatively easy to create the relevant code, though it's not yet letting the developers go live with their creations. That suggests it will be reviewing applications, which is a smart idea given that - however indirectly - the tools will be accessing information in a user's inbox.

Users can add the tools through the "G Suite Marketplace", which works in a similar way to the Chrome Web Store for browser extensions. Before installing, the user will need to confirm they've read a checklist that details exactly what access and capabilities the tool has regarding their data.

Once installed, a tool will work automatically on both the website and Android app editions of Gmail. Google says it's working with Apple to add the feature to the iOS version. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Can you think of any useful tools that could be created for home users? Would you be happy to add such tools if they provided a useful service? Do you trust Google to apply appropriate safeguards?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (4 votes)


ecash's picture

That if there was a Good program for doing something, that they were making a prog, that would MERGE it into Google..

Which would be great if it works.
I hate going to the Store, and trying to figure WHICH APP DOES WHAT AND HOW IT WORKS..
And why not interface Allot of basic apps into a inter-related one..