Exclusive: A first look at the “Agave” apps for Office 2013

Agave apps for OfficeBack in March this year, we reported that Microsoft was readying a Office web extensions platform called “Agaves”, which allows developers to create an area within Office applications that lets webpages interact with documents and augment content with extra features.

Today we received more information about these “Agave” apps. As shown in the image to the right, there are three types of apps available for Office 2013, which are fairly consistent with what we reported earlier. Below we’ve included a real example for each type of app along with screenshots of it in action:

  • Task Pane app for OfficeAdd functionality for Excel and Word documents in a task pane that is adjacent to the document. Requires Microsoft Office 2013. These apps are reportedly to be only available for the actual Excel, Word and Project 2013 applications (and not their Office Web App counterpart). Examples include dictionary and reference apps like Britannica, Merriam-Webster, and Factiva allowing you search for information on the web and insert them into your documents. Below is a screenshot of the Bing News Search app running in Word 2013 which allow users to easily find relevant contents and videos from Bing News and include them into their document:


  • Content app for ExcelAdd content and functionality to the body of an Excel document. These apps are reportedly to work on Excel Web App in addition to Excel 2013. Examples include letting you plot data on a map, or select date and times into cells using an embedded calendar. Below is a screenshot of the Bing Maps app that allow users to use location data in their spreadsheet and plot them on Bing Maps:


  • Mail app for OfficeAdd content and functionality adjacent to an Outlook item based on a set of activation rules. These apps are reportedly to require Outlook 2013 or Outlook Web App connected to Exchange 2013. Examples include viewing contact’s social network profiles directly in Outlook, or booking hotels and car rentals within Outlook, all based on contextual information from Outlook messages, contacts and appointments. A screenshot of the LinkedIn app is shown below:


All of these apps can made available by developers on an upcoming Office Store, where developers can list their apps and monetize them in the marketplace. Users can directly install apps by signing in to their Microsoft account or their Office 365 account. With the announcement of Office 2013 Preview (public beta) imminent, perhaps as soon as next Monday, we should be hearing about these “Agave” apps, amongst other new features yet to be revealed, really soon. What do you think about these new “Agave” apps? Let us know in the comments below!