Microsoft's decision to change the default file format in Office 2007 for some of its most popular Office programs has caused some confusion and controversy, especially shortly after introduction. Back then no one was able to open the docx, xlsx or pptx file formats if they did not have Microsoft Office installed. This changed quickly as Microsoft released the Office 2007 compatibility suite for previous installments of Microsoft Office. Users without Microsoft Office were able to work with the new formats in Open Office or use online converters to convert them to traditional Office documents.
The Google Docs team on the other hand was reserved and did not add support for these file formats until now. Today, they announced that they finally added support for both the docx (that is for Microsoft Word 2007 documents) and xlsx (Microsoft Excel 2007 spreadsheets) format in Google Docs.
Support in this case means that users can upload files with the docx and xlsx extension to Google Docs. The size limitations are 500 Kilobytes for docx documents and 1 Megabyte for xlsx spreadsheets.
The document can then be edited in Google Docs just like any other document. There is however no option to save documents to a local computer system in the docx or xlsx format yet. Google Docs will automatically convert the documents to doc or xls format.
Update: Google Docs can read Microsoft PowerPoint pptx files now as well. While you can upload files to Google Docs and even view and edit the files on the site directly, you can't save them as new Microsoft Office formats anymore as this operation is not supported by Google's document management service.
Google Docs was recently merged with Google Drive, Google's online storage and file synchronization service. It is now possible to download the google drive software to desktop systems and mobile clients to get access to all hosted files and documents from all devices.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.