A recent blog post over at the Google Docs Blog explains a new way that Google is taking collaboration even further by giving developers the opportunity to create gadgets for Google Docs. They say that “developers now have an easy way to both add features to Google Docs and to pull collaborative data from Google Docs into gadgets on iGoogle and other platforms.” At this point there are only gadgets available for spreadsheets, but that will change in the future.

The gadgets available for spreadsheets are easily accessible.  All you have to do is highlight a cell range and click insert. Under insert you’ll now see “Gadget…”

spreadsheet gadget

From there you’ll see a gadgets menu that is divided into categories like charts, tables, maps, or diagrams, just to name a few (shown below).

gadget directory

One example of a gadget is the Gauges Gadget which will display each numeric value as a gauge. This is just one of many, and users can even create their own gadgets.

gauges example


Another great feature which they’ve added is Notification Rules.  You’ll see a link for it at the top of Google Docs with a red “new” tag next to it. Clicking on it will allow you to determine when you want to be notified if changes have been made. This is great for those of you who use Google Docs to collaborate with others. You can be notified if:

  • Any changes have been made
  • Anything on a specific sheet has been changed
  • Anything in a specific range of cells have been changed
  • If collaborators are added or removed

You can also determine if you want a daily email that has a log of everything that’s been changed or if you’d like an email right away, any time a change has been made.