Google and Microsoft are duking it out over the cloud and they’re both pretty sure that providing services around content is key. And while some may think that it’s a foregone conclusion that the Redmond, Wash. Software giant will dominate because of its Office franchise, CEO Satya Nadella certainly isn’t acting like it’s a done deal.
Consider all that he’s done to drive traffic to Office 365 and One Drive of late, including its recent acquisition of mobile email app Acompli.
It’s not just that, but Microsoft also seems to want steer crowds away from Google which is probably why it struck a deal with Dropbox for file storage in the cloud. And Dropbox, for its part, isn’t making things any easier for Google Drive product managers. Earlier today it officially opened up its Dropbox for Business API, a move that will make it simple for app developers to build solutions that businesses want on its platform.
Google's on the Move
Needless to say, Google isn’t sitting still, watching it happen. It's got its own play via Gmail, which for some is a central work location. It offers productivity tools like a calendar, a social media notifier, collaboration features, a way to connect with contacts, Google Plus, instant messaging, Google Docs and, of course, Google Drive.
Not just that, but it has a new project Inbox, which is designed to make it easier for users to deal with the onslaught of email.
What Google is missing — and Microsoft has — is an ability to give Google Docs and Gmail customers an ability to work with Office documents seamlessly. While this wouldn’t be much of an issue if Google Docs had as many users as the Office brand, that’s simply not the case.
So needless to say, Google needs to do something about it, and yesterday it did.
On its Google Drive blog it announced that it's made it easy for Google Doc users to edit Office files that arrive as Gmail attachments. To do this, all you have to do is click on the new edit icon in Gmail and attachments will be converted to Google docs.
When you do, you will not only get a document that you can edit but also additional benefits like only having a single document to keep track of, that you can access from anywhere (even offline), and its revision history.
“There’s no need to resort to Microsoft tools” is the messaging that Google conveys in its blog post.
That being said, Google does provide a way to edit Office documents in their original format via a Chrome extension.
Is this a game-changing announcement? If you’re a Google Drive enthusiast who’s sick of manually converting Microsoft docs, it’s a relief. And for Google Drive users who use the service because it’s cheap but really wish they were Microsoft customers, it provides a reason to stay and to quit grumbling. As for the rest of us, it’s proof that Google is listening and working to make our experience using its services and on its cloud more productive.