Google launches compose actions to streamline access to SaaS apps in Gmail

Lately, Google has been all about shaving time off your everyday activities when sending emails. First they came out with smart responses that let you choose among several (sometimes) logical responses to the email. Next was type ahead, which guesses what you might want to type with remarkable accuracy. Today the company announced the general availability of compose actions, another way to save you a little time.

These connectors, which are part of the company’s G Suite business offering, link to your favorite SaaS applications like Box, Dropbox, Egnyte and Atlassian Jira and let you work on these service in the context of the email. Software companies have been stressing ways to keep you in the flow of your work without switching focus and that’s precisely what compose actions have been designed to do.

“Compose actions make it easy for you to add attachments, reference records, or liven up your messages with content from your favorite third-party apps right as you draft your message in Gmail,” Aakash Sahney, Google’s product manager for Gmail and Chat wrote in a blog post announcing the new feature.

You start by connecting your service of choice in G Suite using the Gmail Add-on tool. Google created Gmail Add-ons to make it simpler to integrate these third-party tools into the Gmail workflow. Once you authorize the tool, it will now appear as an option in your compose window, giving you direct access to the content without leaving Gmail. G Suite admins can create a list of authorized apps if they wish to limit the integrations to sanctioned services.

If you want to incorporate a file or folder from Box, Dropbox or Egnyte, authorize the app and then you can click the compose action that appears in the email compose window to access the service and pull in a file.

Gif: Google

With the Atlassian integration, you can insert a project file directly in the email.

Gif: Google

This may not seem like much, but it’s all in the service of reducing keystrokes and actions that tend to add up in terms of time spent over the course of a day. Instead of opening your content provider’s service, navigating or searching to the content, copying it and then pasting into the email, you can simply click the compose action and access the service directly from Gmail.

Compose actions were first announced at the Google Cloud Next conference in July. They are available for G Suite subscribers starting today.