Google launches tool to open Office docs in Chrome

Google has launched Chrome Office Viewer in beta form, allowing users with the Chrome Beta on Windows or Mac to open documents in the Redmond format.

Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be directly opened in your browser, saving time from downloading. Google further says you'll get a bit of protection from malware delivered via Office files, thanks to "a specialised sandbox to impede attackers who use compromised Office files to try to steal private information or monitor your activities".

Chromebook users have already been able to open Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly, but the folks in Mountain View want to show their Chrome users some love, too.

Right now you'll only be able to download the software on the beta version of Chrome. If you try to open it on the most recent Chrome build 26 that's available to the masses, you'll get an error message. 

If beta software doesn't scare you,Google is telling you to get the Chrome Beta, install the Chrome Office Viewer (Beta) extension, and try opening a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint slide on the Web.

The Chrome Office Viewer isn't a to-die-for feature, but it is definitely useful in some cases.