If you’ve never ventured into the “Add-ons” tab in Google Docs, you’re missing out. There’s all sorts of extra useful capabilities there you can access for free: from making labels for your mail, adding a bibliography to your academic essay, and using a mail merge feature to send personalized emails to a list.

But if you use Google Docs at work, chances are that your IT administrators have disabled add-ins altogether. Why? Because there was no option to deploy an add-in across an enterprise. It could be confusing if you started doing work on a shared document using one plug-in, but your colleague didn’t have that. It could be a bit of a project in itself just to sync up what the company’s “approved plug-ins for Google Docs” might be. Now Google is trying to fix that, as product manager Saurabh Gupta explains in a blog post on Google for Work.

  • Add-on developers now have the option to make their utility available for installation across an entire domain. That means IT administrators can choose to deploy an add-on across a whole enterprise at the same time. Add-ons for Docs, Sheets, and Forms can be deployed in this way.
  • Developers can also take a whitelist approach, letting users choose from a pre-approved list what add-ons they want to use. Or developers can approve add-ons for certain teams.
  • A support document on Google’s site explains how this can all be done.

Google continues bid to be more business-like

Following up on its Android for Work release earlier this month, Google is making clear efforts to take its popular consumer software and make it more work-friendly. If it happens, it will likely be because of a bottom-up effect where employees who rely on Google applications bug their IT department enough, leading to adoption of new features like this.