Chrome OS Build Allows Native Editing of Word and Excel Files
Microsoft has been enjoying some success recently, as Windows 8 finally starts to grab more market share, but it may surprise some people to learn that a huge portion of the company's revenues come from the Microsoft Office suite of applications, which many offices standardize on for compatibility reasons. As good as the free, open productivity suites have become, they still tend not to be totally compatible with applications like Word and Excel.
That's why it was big news back in May when we reported on how 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 is a very logical extension of Google's strategy to facilitate applications in the cloud, and now news has arrived that Chrome OS users can start experimenting with editing Microsoft Excel and Word files.
According to a Google+ post from Francois Beaufort:
"If you still have to deal with Microsoft Office files everyday on your Chrome OS Device, you can start to breathe: Chrome OS users can now experiment with editing Microsoft Excel and Word files."
"Yes! All you need is to be on Dev Channel and enable the obscure chrome://flags/#enable-quick-office-editing flag. Then, you're good to go ;)
Obviously, this is the very beginning and it might be a little bit buggy. Therefore, I would recommend you fill quickoffice bugs at this custom URL http://goo.gl/VsGHL and attach your office files (if you can) in order to quickly improve it."
Beaufort has also posted a couple of photos showing Word and Excel files in editing mode on Chrome OS.
It should be noted that there are warnings of some bugs, but overall this will be a welcome development for many Chrome OS and Chromebook users. Word and Excel are by far the most popular productivity applications from Microsoft, and it seems clear that working with native files for these applications is within reach for Chrome and Chrome OS users.
According to a story from The Next Web, the new functionality is a result of Google's QuickOffice acquisition from last year, and the same story suggests that PowerPoint will get the same treatment soon.