Skip to content

Google Introduces Add-ons, Monitor with Apps Explorer


March 12, 2014

2 minute read


Yesterday, Google announced add-ons, a valuable new update to Drive and a power play to win over even more Microsoft Office users. Available now within Docs and Sheets, add-ons offer advanced functionality, such as citation formatting, mail merge, and graphs, not natively available in Drive. Bringing features that users were accustomed to in Microsoft Word and Excel, this update is continued proof that Google will keep delivering functionality that users are missing from legacy systems.

Though the offered add-ons have been thoroughly vetted by Google, admins may prefer to have control over the specific add-ons that users are granting access to. And keeping pace, BetterCloud’s Apps Explorer feature already has the ability to provide visibility and control around add-ons so admins can empower users to explore the new feature without fearing the permissions they request.

add-ons permissions

Auditing Add-Ons with BetterCloud’s Apps Explorer

If your domain is on the rapid release track and you’ve switched to the new version of Google Sheets, users noticed the new add-ons menu within Docs and Sheets and were able to begin installing them yesterday. Though the apps have been thoroughly vetted by Google, admins may prefer to have control over the specific add-ons that users are granting access to.

Within the Google Admin Console, admins can disable add-ons for the entire domain–navigate to Google Apps > Drive > General settings > deselect “Allow users to install Docs add-ons.” By doing so, users will still see the add-ons menu within documents and can view the store, but lose the ability to install any add-ons.

However, BetterCloud offers more granular control. Using Apps Explorer, which audits all third-party applications that users have granted access to, admins can view add-ons as users install them. Apps Explorer also shows the permissions that the app requests–such as access to Drive, Contacts, or Gmail–and the number of users who have installed the app.

apps explorer

With this, admins can whitelist, blacklist, and revoke authentication to the app, providing IT with a way to prohibit the use of third-party apps or add-ons of their choosing. Perhaps your organization’s security policies forbid any third-party app having access to Drive, but users can install integrations with Gmail freely.

Rather than disabling add-ons altogether, use BetterCloud to pick and choose approved apps and allow users to utilize this exciting new feature without compromising on your company policy.