Microsoft has revealed a series of extensions for Office 2016 called “add-ins,” which let third-party developers offer services that work in tandem with the company’s software suite.
The add-ins will work across different platforms. Among the first companies to take advantage are DocuSign, which now integrates its electronic signatures with Word, and SAP, which runs in Excel. Plug-ins for Outlook, from LinkedIn and Salesforce, will offer more information and context about people who have emailed you pulled from their own data.
Microsoft also announced a unified API, which makes it easier for developers to access Office data and build compatible products and services.
In one scenario many of us will appreciate, Microsoft Director of Product Management Robert Lefferts demonstrated an Uber add-in for Outlook. It reminds users — even users on iPhones — about an upcoming appointment, and automatically fills the Uber app’s destination field with the address of the appointment.
Hmm that Uber extension via Outlook reminds me of some of the feature of certain smart calendars, still very cool #Build2015
— Karissa Bell (@karissabe) April 29, 2015
“Outlook knew where I needed to be, and Uber knows where I need to go,” Lefferts added.
On the downside, Outlook users now have even less of an excuse to say they were late to their meetings.