Outlook.com Pulls Files From Google Drive, Grabs Facebook Photos

Microsoft updates its web-based email client, allowing users to attach files stored on Google Drive and attach pictures from Facebook.


The Outlook apps for iOS and Android already feature Google Drive support, enabling users to access their files on the cloud storage service. This week, Microsoft announced that it was extending similar functionality to Outlook.com.

Users of Hotmail's successor can now link their Google Drive accounts by selecting the option under the Attachment menu icon. After entering their Google account details, they can browse and select the files they wish to use as message attachments. Outlook.com offers users similar integrations with Box and Dropbox, and, of course, Microsoft's own OneDrive cloud file storage, sync and share service.

Taking matters a step further, Microsoft has added the ability to edit Google file types within the same Outlook.com browser tab.

"Now, when you receive a Google Doc, Slide or Sheet, you can open the file within Outlook," announced the Microsoft Outlook group in a Sept. 15 announcement. Previously, clicking a URL that pointed to a Google-hosted file would cause it to open in a separate tab.

"Just like photos and Office file types, the Google files open in Outlook next to your message window so your work flow is not disrupted. And, as with Google Drive links, if you have edit permissions, you'll be able to edit using the full functionality available on Google Drive—again, all without leaving Outlook," added the company's staffers.

Google, too, has been expanding its third-party integrations.

Earlier this month, the mammoth Alphabet subsidiary announced a collaboration with Box, the enterprise cloud file hosting provider, enabling users to search for content in Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs and the Box service. The capability comes courtesy of new integrations with Google Docs and Springboard, Google's enterprise search technology.

Recognizing that many folks on Facebook treat it as a giant virtual photo album, at least in part, Microsoft also enabled another integration that allows Outlook.com users to attach images stored on the social network.

Like the Google Drive integration, users provide their Facebook login information using the Attachment menu icon. Once their accounts are linked, users can browse and attach images they uploaded to Facebook ("My Photos") or images in which they've been tagged ("Photos of Me").

When working collaboratively, users may lose track of a specific attachments as respondents pile more files onto long conversation threads. To help, Microsoft added a new feature that organizes a thread's attachments into one view.

"At the top of every thread, you'll now find an attachment icon. Click it to open a drop-down list of all the attachments in the conversation. Simply select the file you are looking for and open it—you don't have to click through each reply or expand the thread," instructed Microsoft.

Microsoft is rolling out the new features over the next few weeks. The attachment dropdown is also being ported to Outlook on the Web users with Office 365 commercial subscriptions.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...