Google Drive Tweaked As Docs Gains MS Office Support

Google Drive updated for businesses, and Docs gets the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents

Google‘s software developers have been busy: the Google I/O event included significant upgrades to its cloud storage service (Google Drive) and its office suite (Google Docs).

The major announcement concerns Google Docs, the free cloud and mobile-based Office suite from the search engine giant.

Google DocsGoogle Docs

In the past Google Docs users have been able to export their Google Docs files to a Microsoft Office format, but now they can edit Microsoft Office files directly via the Google Docs service. This move essentially opens up Google Docs (which includes Docs, Sheets and Slides) and makes it a viable alternative for home workers, and perhaps provides more competition to the likes of OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

“Sometimes people send you files and you need to be able to open them, make some edits, and send them back,” wrote Ryan Tabone, Google’s Director of Product Management in a blog posting. “If they don’t use Docs, Sheets and Slides it can be a challenge. Starting today, you no longer have to worry, because both the web and mobile apps for Docs, Sheets, and Slides let you edit Office files – without conversion – so you can now edit and send back files in their original format.”

What this means is that now users will be able to view, create and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations on both mobile devices and the desktop, and preserve the Microsoft Office formatting. Another useful function is that there is now offline support as well so users can work on their Office documents with no Internet connection.

“With today’s updates to Docs, Sheets, and Slides, we’ve got you covered, regardless of how, where, or when you need to get something done,” said Tabone. “You now have mobile apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides, the ability to edit and share Office files, and a brand new way to collaborate with Suggested edits. It’s a big update, but more importantly, we hope it’s a big improvement for you.

Google Drive ScreenGoogle Drive

The other major announcement concerns the cloud storage service, Google Drive. Launched just over two years ago, Google Drive has become increasingly popular thanks in part to price cuts, and now has more than 190 million people actively using it to store and access their files on their phones, tablets, and computers.

Google says it has made the cloud storage service both faster and easier to use. And at its I/O developer conference this week, Google also revealed a version of Google Drive aimed at the business community.

Google Drive for Work comes with additional security features and also doesn’t not have any storage limitations.

A Drive for Work subscription costs $10 (£5.87) per month, and the maximum file upload size has been raised to 5TB, although it remains to be seen whether anyone would ever contemplate uploading a 5TB file to the cloud.

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