Microsoft ending Chromebook assist for Business office Android applications in September (Update: Google assertion extra)

Update: This write-up now includes a assertion from a Google spokesperson that can be viewed at the close of the article.

Back in late June, there were being experiences that Microsoft may be organizing to go Business buyers on Chromebooks to the world wide web. Some Chromebook buyers were seeing in-app messaging suggesting this. At the time, I dismissed all those studies as not all Chromebook people of the Office environment Android applications were being seeing these types of messaging. It turns out I was mistaken. Microsoft is dropping Chromebook guidance for Office environment Android applications next month.

I uncovered this out immediately after an e mail discussion with Microsoft’s PR division yesterday. I had attained out because a reader of the web-site pinged me on Twitter, saying he had just seen the concept that started showing up for some Chromebook users.

.@KevinCTofel, Pursuing your information I deleted @Microsoft #Phrase/#Excel/#PowerPoint #Android applications from my #Chromebook when it warned me that I should not use them and put in the @Business office application in its place. Bought the same mistake. Now I am contemplating this is definitely poor news. Ideas? https://t.co/nb1xAiuEJJ

Goodbye Chromebook aid for Office Android apps

Last night time, I received a reaction to my ask for, with a Microsoft spokesperson confirming the company’s ideas: A changeover will commence next month on Chromebook assistance for Office environment Android apps. In its place of Android, Business on the world-wide-web will be the way to use Microsoft’s efficiency suite on a Chromebook:

“In an work to supply the most optimized experience for Chrome OS/Chromebook clients, Microsoft applications (Business and Outlook) will be transitioned to net experiences (Office.com and Outlook.com) on September 18, 2021. This changeover delivers Chrome OS/Chromebook prospects accessibility to additional and quality functions. Consumers will want to sign in with their particular Microsoft Account or account linked with their Microsoft 365 subscription. Extra data is readily available below.”

To even further explain, sources inform me that Office on Android is not likely away.

Of program, that makes perception, offered how lots of Android phones are in the market place, every single 1 of them getting a possible income supply for Microsoft 365 the new branding for Business 365 and further applications. And though Android buyers could use the world wide web for Microsoft’s Workplace apps, just like Chromebook end users will, the applications are improved optimized for phone monitor dimensions.

Chromebooks commonly have 11.6- to 17-inch shows (certainly, there is a 17-inch Chromebook now), where responsive and scalable web applications very likely make a lot more sense from a help standpoint. Determining to make this changeover indicates Microsoft does not have to commit time and work optimizing the little-display screen Android productivity applications for the larger sized shows on Chromebooks.

Howdy Place of work website apps. What does this necessarily mean?

At this point, I’m sure most Chromebook proprietors looking at this aren’t content. And I can realize that. Some people only like native applications around world wide web-based mostly solutions. A person of the main causes is since the website equivalent of an app is not generally equivalent to that of a native application. There could be missing performance, for case in point, or the inability to use the world-wide-web application when offline.

I never have any formal remark from Microsoft to share on that entrance, but I did do some minimal analysis on my individual. I applied my individual Chromebook that has the Android edition of Business installed and I also accessed Office environment365.com in my browser.

As an alternative of screening like-for-like comparisons of each and every element, I seemed specifically into utilizing both alternatives when offline. I did that largely due to the fact I assume that will be the most speedy discomfort position, no matter if authentic or perceived, on Chromebooks.

To nobody’s shock, I was equipped to use Office environment for Android on my Chromebook whilst offline. Nevertheless, even nevertheless Microsoft commenced presenting PWA’s, or Progressive Internet Applications, for its Workplace programs in 2019, I ran into issues applying the website variation.

For a person thing, I didn’t see a way to install the PWA at 1st, which ordinarily appears in the Chrome browser as an option if a PWA is out there. Update: Update: Many thanks to a commenter suggesting I already experienced the PWA installed, I eliminated it and re-tested it. The PWA installation method was regular for a Chromebook.

And however, it appears there is a PWA available. I opened up the Developer Tools in Chrome and found the PWA-expected manifest file suggesting this:

Chromebook for Office Android support manifest

When searching through the manifest file, I see the necessary requirements for PWA installation. So I checked the browser menu and discovered an “Open in Office” alternative I would have predicted an “Install” option like most other PWAs on my Chromebook. By selecting “Open in Office”, the company appeared in its very own application-like window as any other PWA would.

Office 365 PWA on a Chromebook

The recent knowledge isn’t wonderful for Chromebook end users

At this point, I had the PWA application on my Chromebook and was able to pin the Business office app icon to my system tray.

Be aware that it’s however a messy implementation though. I can develop a new doc in the PWA flawlessly wonderful. Accessing an existing doc opens it in the browser, i.e. outside of the PWA.

Sad to say, this doesn’t operate at all on a Chromebook when offline. At least not as of nowadays. Clicking my new Office icon yields an mistake webpage mainly because at present, the PWA is making an attempt to reach Microsoft’s servers. Will that adjust involving now and the September 18th changeover? I unquestionably hope so but I have no information to share on that entrance at this time.

Certainly, on the aid website page backlink supplied in Microsoft’s statement, it obviously states that to use Business applications on your Chromebook, you need to navigate to the Office web webpage. You have to be on the internet to navigate there.

I did find a process that provides some primary offline access, having said that.

Even though on line and employing Office on the web, I saved a local duplicate of a Word document. This appeared in the Information app of my Chromebook, as expected.

And by default, Google installs a Chrome extension on just about every Chromebook referred to as Business office Enhancing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You may not see it in your list of Extensions, but it’s there. It works offline so you can see or edit Office documents domestically in your browser.

Google Docs editor for Office document

No, this isn’t the similar as an Office environment Progressive Internet Application. It is not even close, basically.

You’ll fundamentally be making use of Google Docs to make basic edits to regardless of what Workplace information you have downloaded. That means you will not many of the capabilities that Business offers.

But, it’s an option until Microsoft (ideally) chooses to make its Office environment PWA a initial-class citizen on Chromebooks. Possibly we’ll listen to a thing about that formally among now and the transition interval.

By the way: If you want a totally native productiveness suite that does run domestically on your Chromebook, there are other options. I wrote up documentation on how to install LibreOffice in Linux on your Chromebook correct in this article. It’s not as distressing as it appears to be and LibreOffice is pretty equivalent to Microsoft’s Office suite.

Update: I been given the next assertion on August 26, 2021, at noon ET from a Google spokesperson:

“We’re delighted to see Microsoft give Chrome OS users a much more optimized experience and embrace the open world wide web. Folks like Chrome OS for the reason that it offers a speedy, secure, and simple computing expertise and helps them remain linked though they work, examine and remain entertained.”

Up-to-date at 8:10 am ET reflecting the appropriate PWA set up approach.
Up-to-date at midday, ET on August 26, 2021, to incorporate an official statement from Google.