Google Docs and Sheets now support add-ons in latest challenge to Office

Google is now allowing users of its Google Docs and Sheets programs to download first and third-party add-ons from a new storefront that closely resembles the one used for Chrome extensions. The store now has about 60 such extensions available to access.

In a post on the official Google Drive blog, the company stated that the add-ons range from offering users ways to quickly insert bibliographies inside documents to creating personalized emails and more. So far, all of the add-ons in the new store are free to download and use but Google is clearly setting this store up to allow companies to sell such programs to Google Doc and Sheets users. The blog adds, "Once you install an add-on it will become available across all of your documents or spreadsheets and you can start using it right away."

Microsoft officially launched the Office Store for Office 365 users in January 2013. Microsoft has not revealed much about how the storefront has done in terms of downloads and sales since that time. The last such update was made in July, when the company said that it had "hundreds of apps" in the store and that they are available in 23 international markets.

Source: Google | Image via Google

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I use Google Docs! and no problems at all... I have Libre Office for those documents that people share with me on a USB drive...

For me it's as simple as typing ww.office.com and start my office app session for free. Nothing beats free. Microsoft web version of office is stupendously very good. I was shocked that it looked so much like office 2013

This is a very important and quite "innovative" development in the Office Suite War that Microsoft started with Google. I say that Microsoft started it because Google never really set out to displace Office in this space. Yet Microsoft HAD paid for advertising to promote and piggyback Office Web Apps and full Office to their other struggling products.

With 3rd party add-ons, Google Docs now has the potential to match Office's feature by popular feature with the formula that has not failed Google so far. Particularly with the top downloaded browser in the world and the juggernaut Android OS.

This Office Suite War is like the American Revolutionary War. You can compare Microsoft Office to the British Red Coats and Google Docs to the American Soldiers + Militia. The militia, here in this case, are the many developers that will develop for Google Docs and create the many components that will fill holes in the gaps that Docs is missing from Office.

All in all, i think this is exciting not just for Google Docs users or the 13% business that have opted for Google Docs and even for the 87% that stick with Microsoft Office. If Google Docs Add-Ons IS SUCCESSFUL and thus effects the market....Microsoft will have no choice, but to lower the cost of OFFICE across the board to retain their dominance in this space.

If I were the average-typical Microsoft loyalist who posts in this Microsoft-centric website, I would be rooting for this.

neonspark said,
docs is still around? jez.

Did you just wake up from a long sleep?

All the changes Microsoft has done to their Office product line has been in response to Google Drive/Docs.

Of course, it's still around.

I have some people in my organization who insist on using this rubbish - and that's what it is. Every time - and I do mean EVERY time - I load a document created with this stuff into word or Excel it has problems - usually with formatting. Copying and pasting throws up problems too. Who one Earth would trust their business communications or spreadsheets to this level of quality?

If they want to compete against Word and/or Excel, why don't they first learn to write software FFS?

Major_Plonquer said,
I have some people in my organization who insist on using this rubbish - and that's what it is. Every time - and I do mean EVERY time - I load a document created with this stuff into word or Excel it has problems - usually with formatting. Copying and pasting throws up problems too. Who one Earth would trust their business communications or spreadsheets to this level of quality?

Isn't that more suggestive of a problem with MS Office and the formats you're using? I've had problems opening ODF files in MS Office too. Even previous MS file formats sometimes don't correctly render between versions.

I'd suggest you stick to ODF, which is a succinct and well defined standard as opposed to ill-defined and propriety formats like OOXML and older binary formats. I wouldn't use MS Office to open, create, or write them either.

Major_Plonquer said,

If they want to compete against Word and/or Excel, why don't they first learn to write software FFS?

Again, didn't the problem occur when you opened them with MS Office? That points to the problem - it's not compatible with other software. Microsoft designs it that way to ensure vendor lock-in.

simplezz said,
Isn't that more suggestive of a problem with MS Office and the formats you're using? I've had problems opening ODF files in MS Office too. Even previous MS file formats sometimes don't correctly render between versions.

It's more suggestive of this third party suite having poor compatibility with the most widely used office suite in the world. ODF is a minority when it comes to standards in use in the real world.. ODF is a standard, not the standard. As far as MS interoperability goes, sure, if you try to import an OOXML file into like Word 95, sure, it'll have problems. (Good thing it lets you pick different formats to save as.)

simplezz said,
I'd suggest you stick to ODF, which is a succinct and well defined standard as opposed to ill-defined and propriety formats like OOXML and older binary formats. I wouldn't use MS Office to open, create, or write them either.

I'd suggest you stick with MSOffice if you want to be compatible with the majority of users in the world. If interoperability isn't an issue than sure, whatever floats your boat. And ill-defined? Explain that one please. Seems to work very well for everybody else.

simplezz said,
Again, didn't the problem occur when you opened them with MS Office? That points to the problem - it's not compatible with other software. Microsoft designs it that way to ensure vendor lock-in.

Or maybe these other programs just aren't saving a properly formatted OOXML file? Sounds just as likely that the problem is in the third party suite saving malformed files. Or maybe these third party suites do that intentionally to drive a wedge in and try and get some market share going. Who knows.

I'm also curious as to how many users actually wish they weren't "locked in" as you say beyond the company's accountants trying to save a few bucks. It's the most widely used system for a reason, and it's not because Microsoft has a gun to somebody's head... the occasional article of companies switching to whatever suite just because it was free and then switching back because it didn't do what they need it to do comes to mind. Just in my own personal experience I've had to deal with helping with the fallout of switching back after somebody thought it was a good idea to save some money and then the people who actually had to use it couldn't get it to do what they needed it to do.

simplezz said,

Microsoft designs it that way to ensure vendor lock-in.

I think you got it backwards. Vendor lock-in would optimally open all competing file formats and convert them to a proprietary format. Not opening competing file formats would be like asking everyone who doesn't use your software to continue not using your software because it doesn't open any of their files.

You may care about ODF deeply but until it's mandated as you said or becomes the default save format in MS Office no-one's going to use it in large numbers. Long-term archival is one thing but those of us who have to keep exchanging docs with others in our own and other organizations or even with family/friends stick to the formats that are well-known and work best. Ask any non-technophile (and even many technophiles) and I'll guarantee they'll never have heard of ODF or even give a damn but everyone will know what DOC(X)s or PPT(X)s or XLS(X)s are. It might be a wonderful format theoretically that you love both because it's open source and not an MS product, but in the end without a major push it'll never supplant what's commonly used around the world. It wouldn't be the first instance either that the supposedly better tech (which is highly debatable since just because it's proprietary doesn't make something automatically inferior) lost out.

It doesn't hurt to have addons and extensions. I use them in Firefox, Chromium, Thunderbird, Gimp, and lots of other software. It can fill the small gaps in functionality to fit each persons needs.

I just still cannot understand why someone would really choose Google Apps over Office Online? Full document fidelity, available anytime, any device (Internet connected of course). Another thing, any Windows based machine is likely to have a copy Office already installed whether its 2007, 2010 or even the latest (pirated or genuine).

MrHumpty said,
In other news... Google Docs is still terrible.

Docs and LibreOffice fulfil all my Office needs. Both work great with ODF.

simplezz said,

Docs and LibreOffice fulfil all my Office needs. Both work great with ODF.

The fact that you have to use two programs confirms MrHumpty's assertion that Docs is terrible.

kde said,

The fact that you have to use two programs confirms MrHumpty's assertion that Docs is terrible.

That's misconstruing what I said. I don't have to use both. Either can do the job. I use them on different devices.

simplezz said,

Docs and LibreOffice fulfil all my Office needs. Both work great with ODF.

When I see comments like this my first thought is that this is another user that has no clue of what is possible with Word and Excel.

I can see where people doing very basic wordprocessing can survive without Word, these users can get by with tools analogous to WordPad or Notepad. However, this doesn't dismiss the capabilities that are possible with software like Word and Excel that are not only advanced tools, but create a full development platform.

Think about it like this. At one time Microsoft Word was the MOST advanced piece of software ever written. (This changed with Windows XP taking over that role, with Windows 8 now holding that title depending on the metric used.)

So keeping that in mind, can anyone truly argue that GDocs or LibreOffice can even come close to competing with the functionality of Word?

So sure some users can 'get by', but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be more productive using more advanced software that does a lot of the 'extra' work automatically.

I could use MSPaint, but when I want to do real drawing/photo editing, I use tools like Photoshop or Painter that can do far more and do it a lot faster.

The other argument is 'cost', and Microsoft has made so much of Office free Online or very cheap. For the cost of Netflix, you can have the full Office 365 Home Premium package. If people value their time and equate it to 'cost', they are cheating themselves trying to get LibreOffice or GDocs to do something that is literally a single click in Word.


Mobius Enigma said,

When I see comments like this my first thought is that this is another user that has no clue of what is possible with Word and Excel.

I've been using Office software for years, from almost every vendor. I remember fondly using Lotus 1-2-3. Now that was a great office suite. So yes I do have a clue.

Mobius Enigma said,

I can see where people doing very basic wordprocessing can survive without Word, these users can get by with tools analogous to WordPad or Notepad.

As you state, there are many word processing tools. I've used the whole spectrum. In my humble opinion, LibreOffice and Docs are both great tools for word processing and spreadsheets, which is mostly what I use office suites for. I use other custom tools for databases.

Mobius Enigma said,

However, this doesn't dismiss the capabilities that are possible with software like Word and Excel that are not only advanced tools, but create a full development platform.

That may be true, but they are not vendor neutral, nor are they supported on the platforms I use. I use vendor neutral formats like ODF, and so I wish to have a full and correct implementation of that standard when I do office work. Microsoft's office suite doesn't do that for me. It's even more important now that the UK government is going to mandate ODF.

Mobius Enigma said,

Think about it like this. At one time Microsoft Word was the MOST advanced piece of software ever written. (This changed with Windows XP taking over that role, with Windows 8 now holding that title depending on the metric used.)

It never struck me as particularly advanced. Nor has any Microsoft software. They mostly copy features from other leading software like Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, OS X, Android, Linux, etc.

Mobius Enigma said,

So keeping that in mind, can anyone truly argue that GDocs or LibreOffice can even come close to competing with the functionality of Word?

Yes. You haven't won me over. If you want to do that, you'll have to prove to me that Microsoft Office does things that are essential for every office suite user and that other competing software doesn't offer them.

Mobius Enigma said,

So sure some users can 'get by

Not just many users, but large governmental states such as Munich too.

Mobius Enigma said,

but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be more productive using more advanced software that does a lot of the 'extra' work automatically.

You keep saying that Microsoft Office is more advanced, but you have yet to name a compelling and essential feature that the majority of users need and that the competing system don't offer. I'm waiting...

Mobius Enigma said,

I could use MSPaint, but when I want to do real drawing/photo editing, I use tools like Photoshop or Painter that can do far more and do it a lot faster.

I like to use Gimp and Inkscape personally for advanced graphics. Blender too is very good for modelling. All free and open source tools.

Mobius Enigma said,

The other argument is 'cost', and Microsoft has made so much of Office free Online or very cheap. For the cost of Netflix, you can have the full Office 365 Home Premium package. If people value their time and equate it to 'cost', they are cheating themselves trying to get LibreOffice or GDocs to do something that is literally a single click in Word.

My time is valuable, and trying to get MS Office to open and write ODF to the current standard is a poor use of it I'm afraid; especially when LibreOffice and Docs work out of the box flawlessly and without paywall barriers.

simplezz said,
I've been using Office software for years, from almost every vendor. I remember fondly using Lotus 1-2-3. Now that was a great office suite. So yes I do have a clue.

1-2-3 was just a spreadsheet, not a suite. Just saying.


simplezz said,
That may be true, but they are not vendor neutral, nor are they supported on the platforms I use. I use vendor neutral formats like ODF, and so I wish to have a full and correct implementation of that standard when I do office work.

99% of the world doesn't care if it's "vendor neutral", just as long as it works and they can open up whatever file sent from another office without problems.

simplezz said,
It never struck me as particularly advanced. Nor has any Microsoft software. They mostly copy features from other leading software like Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, OS X, Android, Linux, etc.

Weird. Not only has Microsoft had some of the office suite out before some of those listed, quite a lot of them borrow rather heavily from other sources too. Not exactly unique in the computing world, shoot just look at Linux.

simplezz said,
Yes. You haven't won me over. If you want to do that, you'll have to prove to me that Microsoft Office does things that are essential for every office suite user and that other competing software doesn't offer them.

Guess that depends on your needs. Microsoft Office is more than the few programs you get with say LibreOffice though, many of which have no equivalent. InfoPath, Lync, OneNote, Outlook, SharePoint, etc. Interoperability nightmare when you have to mash multiple suites together.

simplezz said,
You keep saying that Microsoft Office is more advanced, but you have yet to name a compelling and essential feature that the majority of users need and that the competing system don't offer. I'm waiting...

See above, plenty missing.

simplezz said,
My time is valuable, and trying to get MS Office to open and write ODF to the current standard is a poor use of it I'm afraid; especially when LibreOffice and Docs work out of the box flawlessly and without paywall barriers.

Sure, shoehorning a niche format into something that's designed to work with something else, yea it can be problematic. Again, it's if you want to be compatible with a specific standard or the majority of the world.. right tool for the job.

Mobius Enigma said,

When I see comments like this my first thought is that this is another user that has no clue of what is possible with Word and Excel.

I can see where people doing very basic wordprocessing can survive without Word, these users can get by with tools analogous to WordPad or Notepad. However, this doesn't dismiss the capabilities that are possible with software like Word and Excel that are not only advanced tools, but create a full development platform.

Think about it like this. At one time Microsoft Word was the MOST advanced piece of software ever written. (This changed with Windows XP taking over that role, with Windows 8 now holding that title depending on the metric used.)

So keeping that in mind, can anyone truly argue that GDocs or LibreOffice can even come close to competing with the functionality of Word?

So sure some users can 'get by', but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be more productive using more advanced software that does a lot of the 'extra' work automatically.

I could use MSPaint, but when I want to do real drawing/photo editing, I use tools like Photoshop or Painter that can do far more and do it a lot faster.

The other argument is 'cost', and Microsoft has made so much of Office free Online or very cheap. For the cost of Netflix, you can have the full Office 365 Home Premium package. If people value their time and equate it to 'cost', they are cheating themselves trying to get LibreOffice or GDocs to do something that is literally a single click in Word.

Nobody in the entire Earthly universes uses more than 60% (perhaps more) of Office's functionality.

However, in the case that some people actually do....this is where the add-ons come in handy.

Mandosis said,
Why exactly is it terrible?
Comparitively to the options provided by MS with Office (Desktop/Online||Free/Paid)... you really have to ask that question.

Honestly dude, "addons" have been in Office since I can remember using it I've been using Google Docs for a long time when forced. The experience was only superior in the online collaborative use case. Even that has heavily erroded with Office Online and Sky/OneDrive.

simplezz said,
Docs and LibreOffice fulfil all my Office needs. Both work great with ODF.
So let me guess. You're worried that your documents won't be readable in 50+ years or something. Or is ODF just your fav because it's inferior but open?

simplezz said,

I've been using Office software for years, from almost every vendor. I remember fondly using Lotus 1-2-3. Now that was a great office suite. So yes I do have a clue.


As you state, there are many word processing tools. I've used the whole spectrum. In my humble opinion, LibreOffice and Docs are both great tools for word processing and spreadsheets, which is mostly what I use office suites for. I use other custom tools for databases.


That may be true, but they are not vendor neutral, nor are they supported on the platforms I use. I use vendor neutral formats like ODF, and so I wish to have a full and correct implementation of that standard when I do office work. Microsoft's office suite doesn't do that for me. It's even more important now that the UK government is going to mandate ODF.


It never struck me as particularly advanced. Nor has any Microsoft software. They mostly copy features from other leading software like Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, OS X, Android, Linux, etc.


Yes. You haven't won me over. If you want to do that, you'll have to prove to me that Microsoft Office does things that are essential for every office suite user and that other competing software doesn't offer them.


Not just many users, but large governmental states such as Munich too.


You keep saying that Microsoft Office is more advanced, but you have yet to name a compelling and essential feature that the majority of users need and that the competing system don't offer. I'm waiting...


I like to use Gimp and Inkscape personally for advanced graphics. Blender too is very good for modelling. All free and open source tools.


My time is valuable, and trying to get MS Office to open and write ODF to the current standard is a poor use of it I'm afraid; especially when LibreOffice and Docs work out of the box flawlessly and without paywall barriers.

There is so much wrong with things you wrote that I don't think you realize are wrong and it reinforces my point.

Future tip: If you are going to try to prove your credibility, you might want to stick to specifics you fundamentally understand.

I'll let others point out the 'oops' in your comments, I just don't have the time.