Google's new tools make it easier to integrate apps with its spreadsheets and slides

New APIs make it possible to programmatically create spreadsheets and presentations

Google is updating the developer tools for its Docs productivity suite in an effort to make it easier for companies to integrate third-party applications with its presentation, spreadsheet and word processing software. 

Software makers can start working with a new tool that lets them sync data between a Google Sheet and their application for easy data compilation and sharing among people who use the online spreadsheet software. In addition, Google also announced a new Slides API that will allow users to automatically populate slide decks with information from outside sources. 

Software packages like Google Docs don't exist in a vacuum, and offering developers a way to more deeply integrate with the company's products could lead to more companies becoming interested in picking up the productivity suite because of how it works with other software. 

Case in point: Salesforce is using the new Sheets API to sync data from a customer's CRM into a spreadsheet, which can then be shared with other people inside or outside the user's organization. When information gets changed in Salesforce, it'll propagate across any spreadsheets synced with it.

That's useful for making sure that information shared within an organization using Google Sheets is up to date and accurate. 

The Slides API integration is designed to make it easier for business users to create visual presentations without a whole lot of effort. For example, Trello is working on a feature that would let users take items stored on a "board" in its application and turn them into slides with a couple of clicks, without having to go through all the trouble of building a slide deck by hand. 

Security-conscious businesses might not be a fan of these integrations yet. Right now, it's not possible to programmatically exclude users from seeing information they're not supposed to while still sharing a spreadsheet or slide deck with them. If people are working on a team with tightly secured information that shouldn't be shared with others, these features kind of backfire. 

For smaller organizations, or teams that aren't as concerned about keeping information under wraps, the integrations these APIs open up will likely be welcome extensions to Sheets and Slides.

The company announced the updates at its I/O developer conference Wednesday, which included a number of other announcements like more details about the future of Android and information on the company's VR ambitions. 

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Tags Google DocsGoogle I/O 2016

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Blair Hanley Frank

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