Google Docs has received widespread acceptance among users all over the world since its launch in the last quarter of 2006. The compatibility of the text document of Google Docs with Microsoft® Word™, and that of the spreadsheet with Microsoft® Excel™ has served to increase its popularity even more. However, Google Docs did not support the new file formats .docx and .xlsx used by Microsoft® in the Office™ 2007, when the product was launched.
The situation caused problems among the users of the latest version of Microsoft® Office™, who could not work with their documents and spreadsheets online. Later, Microsoft realized the trouble being caused and released a Compatibility Pack that would allow people using older versions of Microsoft Office to access .xlsx without having to purchase the Office 2007 suite. What’s more, the files were even compatible with the freely downloadable OpenOffice package, allowing users to work with MS-Office files without even purchasing MS-Office suite.
Almost all users of Google Docs expected Google to provide support for the .docx and .xlsx files. However, Google refrained from adding support of these files for a long time, in order to avoid possible abuse of Google Docs, and possible legal complications. However, with the introduction of the Compatibility Pack, .docx and .xlsx files were made compatible with previous versions of MS-Office™, albeit with a few restrictions.
Google, in the light of the altered scenario, decided to introduce support for .docx and .xlsx files in Google Docs. The service is not full fledged, however. The service does allow users to upload files in .docx and .xlsx formats in Google Docs. But the files, after upload, are converted to .doc and .xls formats automatically. Besides, there are restrictions about the size of the files that can be uploaded, as well. The maximum size of a Word doc that can be uploaded in Google Docs is 500 KB. For Excel workbook, the restriction is a bit more relaxed, and the maximum file size in this case is 1 MB.
After upload of the files, these can be edited just like any other document uploaded in Google Docs. However, the files cannot be saved in the local computer in .docx or .xlsx format. Google Docs still forces the user to save files in .doc or .xls formats only. However, this is supposed to change within a while. Till then, users who do not own a copy of MS-Office 2007 will have to be satisfied with using .doc and .xls files on Google Docs only.