Update (2/11/15): Merge has been removed from the Google Drive add-ons store and is not being actively developed at this time. We’ll update this post if there are any changes to its status.
If you’re a frequent Google Drive user, you may have noticed they recently launched add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets. You may have also noticed a familiar logo in the add-ons store.
Merge lets you send to a small list of emails directly from Google Docs and Sheets. It’s built and supported by MailChimp, but you don’t have to have a MailChimp account to use it. That’s right, we built a whole new app just for Google Docs and Sheets users.
Merge is a great option for book clubs, little leagues, neighborhood groups, PTAs—anyone who needs to send simple emails to lists of up to 1000 email addresses. In fact, this is exactly the type of Gmail user that Google was hoping to help when they approached us. They asked if we could build an add-on that would make it easy for a Google Drive user to create and send personalized email right from a Google Doc.
With Merge, you can pair your Google Doc to a Google Sheet that contains email addresses and data fields for the people you want to contact.
Then, you can merge in personalized content—first name, last name, address, etc.—from your Google Sheet.
When you hit send, Merge pulls in the data, and sends the email content to the addresses in your Google Sheet.
You can use the Reports tab to see how many emails were delivered and how many people have opened your email.
Merge was built for people and organizations currently using Gmail to send to lists of between 50 and 1000 people. It’s completely free to use, and there’s no account setup required.
There were a lot of reasons for us to not build Merge. It duplicates functionality that MailChimp offers, for starters. It’s free and will never be a source of revenue for us. We had to build an entirely new application from the ground up. We had to prepare our support team to support it. We needed a strategy to mitigate the potential for abuse from bad users.
Of course, some Merge users may decide they want to build fancier emails with our drag and drop editor, or get access to more robust segmenting or reporting features, then switch over to MailChimp. But the truth is that the majority of these potential users are not likely to become paid MailChimp users. So, why make Merge?
For one thing, we love the challenge of building something so ambitious—borderline crazy, even—in such a short period of time. But also, we just like creating things that are useful. We’ve put a lot of work into our abuse-prevention infrastructure over the years, so perhaps that allows us to take on a few more risks. Plus, all of our teams at MailChimp are able to move fast. Not just our development team, but our support team and our design team as well. So when a partner comes to us with a cool integration opportunity (and hopes we can move fast enough to meet their launch dates), we can make it happen.
Merge is available for individual Google Drive users right now and will be rolled out to Google Apps users starting this week.