May 22, 2013
If Google builds it, they will come — and by "they" we mean not only end-users, but also channel partners. That, at least, is what's clear in the wake of the announcement of "quick action" buttons for Gmail at the Google I/O conference earlier this month. The new feature has already provided the basis for a partnership with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider OrangeScape through its KiSSFLOW workflow app.
Gmail's quick action buttons, which Google started making available last week, allow users to view information and perform actions related to a specific email from the subject line, without ever having to open the message. Usage examples, which Google demonstrated on the Gmail blog, include RSVP'ing and reviewing flight information. The idea, of course, is to save email recipients clicks, time and — most importantly — sanity.
But the feature also creates new opportunities for people who send email to tailor messages in ways that will allow users to respond without having to open them — and that's where the channel comes in. In one of the first examples of a third-party solution that takes advantage of quick action buttons, KiSSFLOW will now send business workflow notifications as quick action notifications. That means users can perform actions, like approving the workflow item, without opening the message.
This works because the KiSSFLOW workflow platform is built specifically around Google Apps, meaning all KiSSFLOW users use Gmail. A solution like this would be tougher to implement in other contexts where a recipient could run any email platform.
Still, there are plenty of other scenarios imaginable by which channel partners might work with Google as OrangeScape has done to take advantage of features like quick action buttons. And more broadly, this is a lesson about seizing on new feature developments — even those which, like the buttons, are relatively minor and affect only a subset of computer users — to deliver innovation that goes beyond the basic product. Google might claim credit for the bulk of the original thinking behind the buttons, but channel partners like OrangeScape can take that novelty even further as they add new value to their platforms.
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