Google has unveiled a new Quickoffice iPad app that will allow their Apps for Business users to open and edit their Microsoft Office files on their iPads.
The new capabilities were announced in a Dec. 19 post on the Google Enterprise Blog by Jonathan Rochelle, director of product management for Google Drive.
"Starting today, the Quickoffice iPad app is available for free to all Apps for Business customers, and iPhone and Android versions are on the way," wrote Rochelle. "With the app, you can open and edit any Office files you've stored in Google Drive right from your iPad."
This iPad app for Quickoffice automatically syncs with Google Drive and supports two-factor authentication, according to Google. With the app, users can open and edit any Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint file stored in Google Drive right from their iPads.
Versions for other devices, including iPhones and Android devices, will be released for Google Apps for Business customers in the future, according to Google.
"Whether you're converting Office files to Google documents or you just need to make a couple quick edits without converting, it should be easy to get work done whenever you need to, on any device," wrote Rochelle.
Since Google's acquisition of Quickoffice in June, it has been making improvements to the Quickoffice offerings. Quickoffice allows users to work with their legacy Microsoft Office files by converting them into Google documents or by editing them directly in Quickoffice.
One of the benefits of the new iPad app is that it can make it easier for users to make quick edits to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files without having to convert them to Google Docs files, according to Google.
Quickoffice apps enable users to view, create, edit and synchronize documents on devices using any of the leading mobile operating systems, including Apple iOS, Android and Nokia Symbian. Quickoffice is compatible with Microsoft Office and includes apps for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, respectively.
Google engineers have continued to refine their Google Apps for business products throughout 2012 as the company seeks to grow its user base for the online office suite, which is accessed through the cloud from anywhere.
Earlier in December, Google announced that it was ending its free version of Google Apps for Business after deciding that most business users have been quickly outgrowing it and signing up for more fully featured paid accounts that offer additional services.
The move came seven years after Google first began offering the free Google Apps services.
The paid Google Apps for Business accounts began in 2007 when Google began charging $50 per user annually, a fee that provided larger inbox mail storage and access to Google APIs to allow businesses to build custom apps and other extra services. Google also added apps versions specifically aimed at governments, universities and schools.
All businesses that now want to use Google Apps for Business will have to pay for the service, but they will get expanded services, including 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox and a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime.
The changes, however, won't affect existing business users, who will be permitted to keep using their limited-capacity accounts in the future.
In October, Google added some key benefits—phone and email support—for paying customers of its Google Apps services when they are accessed through Google's Chrome Web browser. That means that Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers can get direct support on Chrome installation, functionality, security, browser policy settings and Google Apps interoperability for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Customers with free Google Apps accounts are not eligible for phone or email support but can continue to use Google's free online help services and forums.