What’s new? Apparently, Google is releasing an API to automate Google Docs.
Google recently announced the launching of a new API specially designed for Google Docs. The API will be available to the general public, allowing developers to automate tasks that users usually do when using an online word processor. Since April 2018, the API was set to developer preview mode on Google Cloud Next. Now, all developers can use this API to create automated changes as they see fit.
But first thing’s first (in case you need to make sense of some terminologies).
What is an API?
API is the abbreviated version of the term application programming interfaces (APIs). Google APIs are programs developed by the tech giant’s developing teams which facilitate communication with Google Services and can be integrated or connected with other services.
Examples APIs include Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and Google Translate. These APIs are available to third-party apps and can contribute to the improvement of service functionalities.
The functionalities provided by APIs may cover analytics, permission to access and read user data or machine learning services (API that predicts your search queries). Embedding a Google map on a website, which most businesses do to help visitors locate them easily, also makes use of API. Google map embeds are possible through Static maps API, Google Places API or Google Earth API.
What about this new Google Docs API?
According to Google, the new API will adopt the name REST API. This API was established to assist developers as they design workflow automation services for target users. The REST API also allows users to better manage their content and create many documents at the same time.
Developers can build processes that automatically update documents thanks to the REST API. These automation features include inline image insertion, listings, merging and formatting texts, and inserting, moving or deleting text and elements on the document.
What else do I need to know about the REST API?
Basically, its canonical use is invoicing. Here, you have to produce similar documents with dynamic line items and order numbers regularly. You will make use of information from external systems (although you can opt to use a simple Google Sheet). According to Google, the API’s import and export features enable you to utilise Google Docs as a system for managing internal content.
Netflix, Zapier, Final Draft and Mailchimp were among the few companies that formed solutions derived from the new Google Docs API during the preview phase. Zapier linked the Docs API to a workflow automation tool. This subsequently allowed their users to generate template-based offer letters. Moreover, in the case of Netflix, the streaming giant used the API to create a homegrown tool that assists in data-gathering and automates work documentation.
Anything else I should know about Google API?
In an official video released by the Google team, they explained that by using the new API, you can schedule your workload and be more efficient. For example, if you need to produce the same invoice each month, you can just set Google Docs to automate this task. Integrating Docs with other apps can also make task automation a lot easier for you.
Furthermore, if you integrate docs with a CMS (e.g. Blogspot, Wordpress), you can use it as a text editor. It’s a useful online publishing tool in that regard.
Tasks You Can Automate
In summary fashion, here is a list of things you can do with the new Google Docs API:
1) Create invoices 2) Create contracts 3) Create and modify documents 4) Automate processes 5) Produce documentation en masse 6) Automatically perform updates on specific documents 7) Retrieve content from a specific file 8) Create a new document 9) Option to update several documents simultaneously
Why would I want to automate Google Docs?
There could be several possible answers.
One, you're a growing business with a lot of front line tasks to attend to. You don't want to lose your focus on revenue generation, so you would rather automate back-office functions if an opportunity presents itself.
Two, you're an individual who wants to work more efficiently. You see automation as a way to improve your productivity and deliver results as quickly as possible.
Now we can say thank you to Google for another thoughtful innovation.
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