Google extension puts Office docs in secure Chrome container

The Office Viewer previously only available for Chromebooks is coming to Windows and Mac.

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Google has released a Chrome extension for opening and viewing Office documents in the browser.

With the extension, Chrome users can click on a link to view Word, Powerpoint and Excel files in their browser.

The new extension brings the feature to the Windows and Mac version of Chrome, and is currently only available for the beta of version 27 of the browser . The extension was previously only available for Chromebooks.

Google claims its viewer offers a "more secure way to view Microsoft Office" files via its browser sandbox container.

"Just like with web pages and PDFs, we've added a specialised sandbox to impede attackers who use compromised Office files to try to steal private information or monitor your activities," it notes.

Google was careful to use the word "impede" and not prevent. Hackers at the CanSecWest conference for the past two years have forced Google to fix security flaws after finding ways to bypass Chrome's sandbox.