Google today launched a new plug-in for Microsoft Office that gives you access to all of your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in Google Drive right from Microsoft’s desktop apps. The plug-in also lets you save files directly to Google Drive, so you can then edit them in Google’s online apps, too.
The idea here, a Google spokesperson told us, is to continue to make Drive into more of an integrated storage tool for its users.
You could, of course, always use Google’s desktop application for Drive to sync locally stored files with Google Drive already, but this new feature makes this a far more integrated experience for Office Users. Once it’s installed, you can use Google Drive in Office just like any other folder on your computer or network.
Last year, Google launched the ability to start desktop apps right from Google Drive in the browser, too. Today’s announcement is a natural next step in bridging the gap between desktop and web.
In some way, launching this plug-in is also an admission on Google’s part that Microsoft Office is still the default productivity suite in many businesses — even in those that already have a Google for Work subscription. Once people have all of their files in Google Drive, though, Google Drive and the Docs, Sheets and Slides apps become the natural destination to also make edits to these documents online and not Microsoft’s own Office web apps.
At the same time, however, Microsoft is making quite a push to get its users to subscribe to Office 365, which comes with the web apps and online storage, too (and it’s definitely making some inroads into large companies with this strategy).