This is probably a while away for average users, but it is a very helpful step towards increasing the ease of use and cross-platform compatibility. Some folks, by necessity or preference, live in Microsoft Office and this would make doing that possible with Google’s tools. Chromebooks are looking better everyday.
Google has added native Microsoft Office file editing to the dev channel for Chrome OS. The addition means Chrome OS users on the latest build of the company’s browser-based operating system can now experiment with editing Microsoft Word and Excel files.
The addition was first noted by developer and Google open-source Chromium evangelist François Beaufort. He points to a Chromium code review that merely states Improved Quickoffice editing about:flag.
Here is a Word document being edited on Chrome OS:
Here is an Excel document:
It’s unclear why PowerPoint has not received the same treatment; we can only speculate that Google simply didn’t focus its resources on it as much. Given that this technology is based on the company’s QuickOffice acquisition in June 2012, however, it’s fair to say Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will all be supported in due time.
If you have a Chromebook or other Chrome OS device on the dev channel, you can try this out by doing the following:
1. Navigate to chrome://flags.
2. Click on Enable below the Enable document editing entry.
3. You’ll be prompted to Restart Now after which you will get access to the feature.
In April, Google rolled out a beta release of its new Chrome Office Viewer extension, which lets users view Microsoft Office files directly in the browser on Windows and OS X. The Office Viewer extension was ported straight from Chrome OS, suggesting Google could end up merging it into Chrome altogether one day.
The dev channel for Chrome OS is updated once or twice weekly. Since the feature has made it in there, it’s likely to show up in the beta channel, and then eventually the stable channel.
Yet today’s news that Google is already working on editing Microsoft Office documents in Chrome OS is also very interesting. Maybe by the end of year, it will make it into the Chrome browser too.