Google releases beta of Microsoft Office document viewer for Chrome 27 Beta

Microsoft Office remains the most popular family of productivity software products, and today Google announced a new way for Chrome beta users to view Microsoft Office compatible files inside the web browser itself via a new web extension.

The extension is called simply Chrome Office Viewer, and it's now available as a beta download from the Chrome web store. Once installed, it allows Chrome to view Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files inside the browser, similar to how Chrome can read PDF files. The specific file formats supported by Office Web Viewer are .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt and .pptx.

Google previously allowed owners of the Chromebooks to view Microsoft Office files directly from the browser. This new extension now opens up that support for everyone that uses the beta version of the browser. If you are worried about any security issues with this extension, Google states on the Chrome blog, "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."

As with all beta software, users might find some bugs in this new extension and they are encourage to report those bugs to the company so they can fix them in later editions.

Source: Google | Image via Google

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25 Comments

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Cool and all, but when it comes to a PC....I dont like opening documents in a browser. I prefer Microsoft Office. Now if they were to enable this for a phone/tablet...that would be cool.

I just tried it and 50% of the images in the word document didnt appear but like is said in the article, it's just in beta at the moment so these issues will be ironed out eventually

seems like a nifty feature though

"The specific file formats supported by Office Web Viewer are .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt and .pptx."
Give it a few weeks and they'll remove .doc, .xls and .ppt support and tell you it's an upgrade.

I think you have Google confused with Microsoft. It's Microsoft that have the habit of removing useful features and calling it progress

Javik said,
I think you have Google confused with Microsoft. It's Microsoft that have the habit of removing useful features and calling it progress

Yeah Google chooses to copy/clone instead, as shown by this very extension.

Javik said,
I think you have Google confused with Microsoft. It's Microsoft that have the habit of removing useful features and calling it progress

Google removes Active Sync support, saying that IMAP was progress (not really). And then a few days later announced they were removing IMAP support, because their own proprietary system was progress. Are you sure you have the right company?

Wasn't there an announcement at some point that google docs was removing support for .doc, .xls, .ppt, and only supporting .docx, etc? Or do I have that confused with something else?

It should probably be noted a little clearer that this is only for Chromebooks. If you try to install the extension on Windows, it will say "not supported".

This new extension now opens up that support everyone that uses the beta version of the browser.

I just installed it in Chrome 27 Beta

What happens when I (if I were to ever use Chrome) go to Skydrive.com and open a Word document there? Will Chrome let Microsoft's Office web code run, or will Google take over and do the rendering?

You would have to visit a direct link the Word document and choose Open versus Download (I'm assuming those two options are the ones available). Otherwise Skydrive.com just renders a web page (that we consider an app because of how functional it is) displaying and allowing you to send edits of the document to Skydrive.com.

And will Google read your documents, even though they are not stored on Googles computers and send that information back for processing?

Would be great if this worked with Android but it doesn't. Inconsistency really irks me. The whole idea is to have a unified experience but it always breaks down at some point.

The article now says you must be on chrome beta, or version 27. Try again once version 27 becomes the release version. (I see now that wasn't in the original version of the article).

Pluto is a Planet said,
How many of you were also confused by the use of "Microsoft" in the article title?

lol I misread the title as well, thinking that it was Microsoft that made the extension. Doesn't Microsoft's SkyDrive web app work in chrome already to view office documents?

dbam987 said,

lol I misread the title as well, thinking that it was Microsoft that made the extension. Doesn't Microsoft's SkyDrive web app work in chrome already to view office documents?

Yes and so does Google's, but you can't goto some random link to view an Office document. You could do that in the past with PDF files for example.