Google I/O 2016

Google declares war on copy and paste

Google’s ready to kick Control+C and Control+V to the curb

Google I/O conference
Credit: Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Google’s ready to kick Control+C and Control+V to the curb – the company on Thursday announced new APIs and new enterprise partnerships today at its annual I/O developer conference, designed to simplify common workflows and make its Google Apps product line more competitive.

The new partners include big business software names like Sage, Salesforce, and ProsperWorks, among others, and the new APIs allow for impressively complete integration with Google Apps, providing the potential for broad new feature sets.

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The emphasis, according to Google Apps for Education project manager Jonathan Rochelle, is on making it easier to move data between different apps, which has been a ragged seam in the productivity space for a very long time.

“We’re trying to get rid of those un-magical moments of copy-paste,” he said. “We realize, of course, that people aren’t just in Google products, and that we have to get information from those products to our products.”

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Specifically, the company’s introducing three major new APIs, each with a well-developed demonstration case from a major business partner. First up was the Google Sheets API, which offers a broad new set of hooks into Google’s spreadsheet app. This was demonstrated by SAP, which sent a representative to show off an integrated budgeting and reporting app pushing data seamlessly into a Google Sheet.

The Google Slides API offers similar impressive capabilities. Visual collaboration software maker Trello demonstrated that it can be used to pull data from an outside source into a template, allowing for programmatically created custom presentations, while CRM provider Prosperworks demoed a similar application offering custom reports pulled from its own systems.

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Finally, the new Coursework API builds on Google’s successful Apps for Education and Classroom products, letting teachers do everything from setting assignments to accepting them and grading them, all within the Coursework framework. The demonstration lesson was provided by Tynker, a company that offers programming courses for children.

It’s not a full-throated assault on the enterprise market, but it’s a step in the right direction for a company that isn’t exactly known for its presence among enterprise productivity users. Google’s been relatively successful in the educational market, to be sure, boasting more than 50 million users of Apps for Education as of late last year, although just 10 million educators used the company’s Classroom framework. But Office 365 has been more successful in the overall cloud productivity space, according to an analysis from around the same time by CIO.

The new partnerships with SAP, Prosperworks, Salesforce and the like offers a new group of enterprise customers a way into Google’s ecosystem, while the newly opened APIs offer the option of developing customized solutions.

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