This new feature is to bridge the gap between G Suite and Microsoft Office, to make it easier for people to collaborate and work together even if they are on different platforms.
The update, announced this morning, relates to G Suite's commenting feature.
While this type of feature has obviously been available with Microsoft's own solution, with Google now offering this functionality, it removes one of the barriers to using Google Drive in an otherwise Microsoft environment.
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That capability is now being extended to Microsoft Office and other files, including regular documents, PDF files and images. With Microsoft specifically, the expanded integration will allow users to comment on Microsoft Office file formats without requiring Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat Reader local applications and user licenses. For example, if you're collaborating with an external agency, chances are you're dealing with multiple file formats. "With this update, you can now comment on those files in Drive the way you're used to in Google Docs". Instead, open Microsoft Office files, like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, in Drive preview and give feedback in comments then get back to work.
Comments made in Drive Preview are now exported to the underlying file so when users open up the file they can see the comments made in Drive Preview, according to the company. Users can also use a Drive plug-in for Outlook to make it easier to add or save Drive files from an Outlook email. Finally, users can edit Microsoft files without converting them fully using Office Compatibility Mode. Furthermore, you will now be able reply directly to comments within the same file preview with a new "Reply" button, allowing for quick corrections, notes or responses to collaborator comments.