Last December, we shared how Google was making its productivity suite, Google Apps for Work, work “friendlier” with Microsoft Office files. Earlier this week, Google announced what seems a surprising next step in its Microsoft Office embrace: a new plugin for Google Chrome (Windows version only) that enables Google Drive to work seamlessly with Microsoft Office software. Using the new Google Drive Chrome plug-in, people using Office for Windows are able to open their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents stored in Drive, then save any changes back to Drive once they are done. The move supports Google’s focus on making Google Drive more competitive to Cloud storage leaders like DropBox at the price of weakening its head-to-head competition with Microsoft Office.

How it works

If you’re working on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or Power Point Presentation that’s on your computer, you can also save that file to Google Drive, directly from the Office apps. This is especially useful for sharing files with teams, or for accessing your files across devices running Windows.

Yet another Cloud option

Box and Dropbox have taken similar approaches to support Microsoft’s commanding lead in office productivity software. Box lets you create and edit Office Online files, while Dropbox has brought collaboration features right into Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac. And, of course, there is Microsoft’s own OneDrive.

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