Google announced on Tuesday that it added a new feature to Google Docs and Sheets, the company’s free, cloud-based word processor and spreadsheet creation and sharing software. Add-Ons for Google Docs will allow the company, along with third-party programmers, to integrate new features and functionality with the click of a mouse.
Like Add-Ons for Google’s Chrome web browser and operating system, Add-Ons for Docs offer new features and functions from within the HTML5-based apps. Whereas the most popular Chrome add-ons usually change functionality, such as AdBlock removing advertisements from pages viewed in the web-browser, the earliest Google Docs add-ons include a Twitter Curator, software that allows users to integrate Google Maps into documents (Maps for Docs), along with the EasyBib Bibliography Curator.
EasyBib automatically cites sources, by searching for books, journal articles and add-ons from within Docs. Avery Label Merge allows users to set up and print address labels and name-tags in Docs, by pulling in data from Sheets.
Microsoft also offers a free version of Word and Excel called Office Online, but up until recently has not publicized the web-based solutions. By including third-party add-on support for Docs, Google applies the App Store model to free software and offers serious competition to Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office and Office 365 products.
Google also offers an enterprise version of Docs, called Google Apps for Business, which costs businesses $5 per month or $50 a year. The company announced a “unlimited” referral promotion on Monday, where it would pay users $15 to refer a new customer to the service for at least 120 days.