Chrome Browser Now Directly Opens Microsoft Office Documents

by Ostatic Staff - May. 02, 2013

If you haven't checked in on Microsoft's business model lately, you may be interested to learn that Microsoft Office applications now make up a huge part of the company's revenues. In fact, Office and server sales were the drivers of Microsoft's recent strong earnings report. Some open source fans can't stand it, but the fact is that Microsoft Office and the company's proprietary file formats have a stranglehold on enterprise application users.

That's why it's going to be welcome news for many Google Chrome users that the Chrome browser (Windows and Mac versions) now has features built in to allow users to open Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files directly in the browser.

This functionality was already found on Chromebook portable computers running Google's Chrome OS, but it is now built into the Chrome browser, as announced on Google's developer blog:

"If you’re running Chrome Beta on Windows or Mac and install the Chrome Office Viewer (Beta) extension, you’ll be able to click a link to an Office file and open it directly in Chrome."

"In addition to saving you time, the Chrome Office Viewer also protects you from malware delivered via Office files. Just like with web pages and PDFs, we’ve added a specialized sandbox to impede attackers who use compromised Office files to try to steal private information or monitor your activities."

It's pretty clear that these features, including the sandboxing for security reasons, are taken directly from Chrome OS. A lot of Chrome users who are tied to Office applications will want to get the beta extension and experiment with this. Likewise, this is a smart move on Google's part simply because of the broad penetration of Office applications.

Also note that Google is seeking feedback on the extension, which includes a "Report an issue" button.