For more than two years, Microsoft has been pushing cloud-syncing versions of its Office software suite. Office 365 connects Office apps to the cloud (namely OneDrive), and Office Online offers browser-based document editing. Now, about two weeks after Office arrived on Apple’s iPad, Office is now available through Google’s Chrome Web Store.
Word Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote are now all offered as Chrome Apps—Microsoft says that an Excel Online Chrome App is on the way. And unlike the Office 365 apps, which require a subscription, this service actually is free. You need a Microsoft account, but those are free, as are the first 7 gigabytes of storage on OneDrive.
Office’s arrival to Chrome’s Web Store is the latest sign that Microsoft is set on offering its apps wherever potential users may be, even if that means on competing operating systems, and Web browsers other than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Reality Check: Getting Office to show up in the Chrome Web Store as a suit of apps is a relatively simple move for the Microsoft to pull off. That’s because installing one of the Office Online Chrome Apps is essentially the same thing as just logging into any Office Online app though Office.com.
Though Office Chrome Apps are basically shortcuts to the browser-based Office apps, going the app route does offer one perk for Chrome users: Installing any Office Chrome App will add it to the Chrome App launcher, which allows users to get to their Chrome apps directly from the desktop.