Totally Unscripted: Google Workspace Development: Now with a Side of Smart Chips! 07 February 2024, 2024 at 1200 PT / 1500 ET / 2000 GMT

Totally Unscripted is back on 07 February 2024, 2024 at 1200 PT / 1500 ET / 2000 GMT. There have been a number of saucy updates and announcements around Smart Chips and other integrations to Google Docs, as well as Sheets and Slides.

In this episode we review how you can start to create Google Workspace Add-ons for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides users which let you preview links from your third-party services. In addition we will be dipping into how you can let users of Google Docs add third-party resources from the @ menu.

For this episode we will be joined by some of the Google team behind Smart Chips with guests Allison Hodsdon (Technical Writer at Google) and Pierrick Voulet (Developer Relations Engineer (Google Workspace) at Google.

As always the show is broadcast live and you can ask questions via the YouTube chat, but also interested to hear in advance any of your burning questions for our panel using the comments section below.

Show Live/Recording link –

Changes to URLs which break embedding images/files from Google Drive in your websites and AppSheet apps

Google Drive broke the ability to embed images with the /uc path. Here’s how to embed images from Google Drive in your website.

Previously Google Workspace developers could use a /uc path for embedding images and other files hosted in Google Drive. For example, images could be embedded in websites and emails using markup like:

<img src="" />

To my knowledge this was never an officially documented endpoint, but widely known about and shared within the community. Back in October 2023 Google announced Upcoming changes to third-party cookie requirements in Google Drive, which has started rolling out from the beginning of 2024.

The impact of this change is it breaks /uc embeds and these have started returning 403 errors. There is no reference to the /uc endpoint in the original announcement, which is why I think many people are only just finding out about the impact now. Google’s official guidance is to move to <iframe> with Google Drive publish and preview links. This post from Justin Poehnelt discusses the options and limitations for images.

There has also just been another announcement in the AppSheet community that Drive download URLs for embeddable content to be updated by May 1st, 2024. This is an extended window for AppSheet users and where possible Google will be emailing affected app owners where /uc urls have been detected. This announcement includes a link to a help page with tips for finding /uc occurrences in your AppSheet apps.

Source: Embed images from Google Drive in your website | Justin Poehnelt

How to automatically rename files in Google Drive with Apps Script and the Vertex AI Gemini API

Quickly rename files in Google Drive with Apps Script and Google Gemini AI. The script will automatically rename the files with a descriptive name based on the image content.

Amit Agarwal is celebrating 20 years of ‘Digital Inspiration’, one of my go to resources for Google Workspace tech tips, tutorials and how-to guides. This recent post from Amit is a great example of the types of solutions he regularly shares. This time Amit is looking at how the Generative AI capabilities of the Gemini API can be used to help rename images in Google Drive. To achieve this there Amit shares handy Apps Script snippets for finding images in a Google Drive folder, grabbing the thumbnail images as Base64 encoded strings before calling the Gemini Pro Vision API to get suggested filenames with the prompt:

Analyze the image content and propose a concise, descriptive filename in 5-15 words without providing any explanation or additional text. Use spaces instead of underscores.

For this solution an API key for Gemini Pro Vision is generated in Google AI Studio (formerly MakerSuite). There are still geographic restrictions on access to Google AI Studio, but given Apps Script runs on Google servers once you have a API key you can continue to use it without having to proxy a location.

Image credit: Amit Agarwal

Adding image capabilities to the GeminiApp Apps Script library has been on my TODO. Now I’ve got an example to play with it should be easier to do .. thank you Amit Agarwal.

Source: How to Automatically Rename Files in Google Drive with Apps Script and AI – Digital Inspiration

Unlock the power of your data with no-code! Join the CTS AppSheet Hackathon at the Google London 08 February 2024 

Be part of our AppSheet Hackathon Series in 2024! Join us at the Google office in London for this in-person event in February. Find out more.

My employer CTS/Appsbroker is hosting a free AppSheet Hackathon in Google Office in London on 08 February 2024. This in-person event is the first of four we are planning this year designed to bring both new and existing AppSheet users together to learn and share.

For new users there will be a guided ‘no-code along’ to help you get started, followed by a hackathon with on-hand support. You can find out more including registration by following the link (if you are able to attend my tip would be bring a work colleague as this will help you bottom out your business use cases). I’ll be attending the event so if you are able to attend please come and say ‘hi’.

Source: AppSheet Hackathon – CTS

Post and retrieve messages on Bluesky Social with Google Apps Script

Use Google Apps Script to automate actions on Bluesky Social using their API.

I’ve largely given up on X (formerly Twitter) and there are now numerous alternatives including Bluesky Social. If you would like to automate posting and getting messages from Bluesky Stéphane Giron provides a guide on how to communicate with Bluesky Social API using Google Apps Script. It includes detailed steps on how to obtain an app password, authenticate with Bluesky, retrieve messages for a user, and post a new message. The post also includes code snippets for each step, making it easy if you want to modify this integration to your own needs.

Source: Post and Get messages with Bluesky Social API and Google Apps Script

Semantic poetry with Google Apps Script – Using Semantic Retrievers and Attributed Question and Answer (AQA) in Google Workspace 

Image credit:

Image credit:

Imagine this: you recall a document about an intriguing subject but can’t pin down a specific term. It’s a common scenario where traditional search methods in Gmail or Google Docs often fall short, relying heavily on exact terms. Enter the realm of ‘semantic’ search, powered by advanced language models. ‘Semantic’ isn’t just a fancy word; it’s about understanding the meaning and context behind your words. Instead of a frustrating keyword hunt, these models interpret your descriptions, no matter how vague, to find that needle in the digital haystack.

“Code is Poetry” is the tagline popularised by the open-source blogging platform WordPress. In this post from Riël Notermans at ‘code is FOR poetry’. It’s well worth spending the time unpick what is happening in this tutorial. To help understand the implications I would also recommend watching this short video on the Google Workspace Developers channel where Riël explains how the technique can be used for other applications like knowledge bases.

Even if you are not interested in generating poetry it’s an opportunity to see how the Vertex AI Generative Language API can be used in Google Workspace, in this instance to generate text for a Google Doc using a corpus of data from your Google Drive. Follow the source link for the code and setup instructions.

Source: Semantic Poetry with Google Apps Script – Zzapps

Creating a usage dashboard for your Google Workspace Marketplace Add-on with LookerStudio, BigQuery and Logging Sinks

Flubaroo Add-on Dashboard

At the moment, Add-ons in Google Workspace offer only basic usage analytics via the Workspace Marketplace SDK. These include install data broken out by domains and seats (for Add-ons installed by Workspace admins), and individual end-user installs. This is useful information, but doesn’t tell you much about who is actively using your Add-on, nor give you the ability to breakdown that usage by different dimensions.

The code and instructions in this repo will help you gather and visualize Add-on usage data, such as active usage of your Add-on broken out by user characteristics. It also shows you how to log specific events that correspond to use you want to track (i.e. new installs, uses of particular features, etc).

Here’s a useful solution for Google Workspace Add-on developers who would like more actionable insight into their Google Workspace Add-on usage. This isn’t an official Google solution but comes from the creator of the very popular Flubaroo add-on, Dave Abouav.

The solution includes a Google Apps Script helper snippet which enables your add-on to ‘call home’, or in this case into Cloud Logging, with basic user metrics as well as other events you would like to log. The project also details how you can route usage logs from Cloud Logging into BigQuery by creating a ‘sink’ in Google Cloud Log Router.

The final step is creating a LookerStudio dashboard to visualise the BigQuery data. As noted by Dave there is a cost to using BigQuery for long term storage and querying, which should be kept in mind. More details in the source link below.

H/T to Chanel Greco for highlighting this solution.

Source: Instructions for creating a usage dashboard for your Google Workspace Add-on

‘Editing’ Microsoft files (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) with Google Apps Script

In this report, I would like to introduce the sample scripts for using Microsoft Docs files with Document service, Spreadsheet service, and Slides Service of Google Apps Script.

Users have had the ability to edit MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly in Google Drive for a number of years, Google making this the default behaviour in 2020. There aren’t currently any APIs or Apps Script services that enable you to edit these particular document types. This however hasn’t stopped Kanshi Tanaike for developing and sharing the MicrosoftDocsApp library which makes it possible to edit MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files using the same methods as you would for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

The library is able to do this by converting the Microsoft files into the Google equivalent, before using the MS export options in Google Drive to replace the original files. This does create some limitations highlighted in the post. In particular, the original documents are overwritten and not directly edited which means any incompatible feature as part of the Microsoft to Google conversion will be lost. Regardless of these it’s a clever approach and might be useful for users who have to keep feet in both the Google and Microsoft worlds.

Source: Use Microsoft Docs Files (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) with Document Service, Spreadsheet Service, and Slides Service of Google Apps Script

Totally Unscripted: How developers are shaping the future with Google Workspace and GenAI – 24 January, 2024 at 1200 PT / 1500 ET / 2000 GMT

For the next live broadcast of Totally Unscripted we will be exploring how Vertex AI and other GenAI solutions can be used to extend the capabilities of Google Workspace with targeted solutions that integrate seamlessly with Google Workspace Add-ons, Editor Add-ons, Chat apps, Drive apps, and more!

In this episode we will be joined by a panel of expert guests: Donato Meli (Workspace Go-To-Market at Google), Mohammad Al-Ansari (Developer Advocate (Partnerships) at Google), and Allen Firstenberg (Project Guru at Objective Consulting, Inc).

As always the show is broadcast live and you can ask questions via the YouTube chat, but also interested to hear in advance any of your burning questions for our panel using the comments section below.

We will be LIVE on 24 January, 2024 at 1200 PT / 1500 ET / 2000 GMT

Show Live/Recording link –

Manage Google Form onFormSubmit script executions with Script Lock

Use the Apps Script Lock Service to control Form submissions and prevent data loss

Lock Service code snippet

Lock Service code snippet

The following Google Apps Script is a one example of how the Lock Service can be used to prevent concurrent running of code. Here we have a Google Form that can be submitted by users at any point, the code then takes some of those details and appends them to another Google Sheet row. In normal circumstances this will happen relatively quickly and without clashes, but what if multiple people submit the Form at the same time!?

[Editor note: An alternative approach to tryLock() is waitLock(). The only different with a waitLock() is it will throw an exception after the set number of milliseconds. An example of waitLock() with onFormSubmit is included in the reference documentation]

Source: The Gift of Script: Control Form submissions with Script Lock