In a blow to Microsoft Office, Google now offers native document conversion within Gmail

Sean Cameron


Microsoft and Google are both very large corporations, with customer base overlaps in many key areas. With their products often in fierce competition with one another, naturally these companies offer incentives those those who opt to choose their services. Some of the most heated examples of this fight can be found in the productivity space, where Google is attempting to usurp Microsoft. Now offering native conversion abilities for Gmail users within the browser, Google has upped the ante even further in a move that is sure to rankle Redmond.

Being able to convert files within an email removes a fussy step of viewing and further editing files for Gmail users. Gmail has long offered the ability to preview a file within Google Docs, but editing either required that the file be saved to Google Drive then reopened, or simply downloaded to the desktop and then opened in its original program. This is a particularly significant move given that many Office users have a Gmail account and use Office mostly offline. 

Google Headquarters

Conversion is not simply limited to Word files, the whole Office suite has been targeted for this process. Users can convert to Docs, Sheets or Slides, providing further utility for business users.

It is too early to tell what the long-term effect of this move will be, and indeed what the response will be from Microsoft. Given that many of Microsoft’s services sit behind a paywall, it may be the case that this will work to further whittle away Office use among Microsoft’s public consumer base. Equally it may be that this simply provides extra functionality for existing Google service users, giving them one less reason to swap should they have been considering a change of scenery.

Will you be making use of this new feature? What do you think the Microsoft response will be? Let us know in the comments below.