Open Word document attachments in Gmail via Google Docs

Having enabled Excel spreadsheets to open directly from Gmail accounts into Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google has now closed the loop with Word documents as well. Appearing in the last few days, as reported by the Google Operating System weblog, you now have the option to open Word documents directly to Google Docs. This seems to work quite well, as can be expected, however there have been several reports of issues with graphics laden files or larger documents (in excess of 500k) not opening correctly.

In my tests of this new feature, I was pleased with the ability to edit documents right on the Google platform. The push over to Google Docs from Gmail is pretty seamless, but it only works one way. Strictly from a workflow perspective, if I open an attached document to edit, I would like to be able to send the edited document back as a ‘reply’ email. Google Docs lets you send documents as attachments, and also establish a collaborative connection to each document, but I get many documents from users that don’t use Gmail or aren’t sophisticated enough to use the sharing feature of Google Docs (stuff like that confuses them…for whatever reason). I know I could make my edits, and send a ‘new’ email back to those on the original email chain, but this then defeats the purpose of the conversations feature of Gmail. Also, unless you choose to “cc:” yourself when you send a file from Docs & Spreadsheets, the edited document falls out of the Gmail tracking system…you can’t see the sent email in ‘sent’ on your Gmail account.

I may be the only one who notices this break in the Docs & Spreadsheets integration, but I hope Google is listening. The cleaner the workflow, the more time I (and most likely others) will spend inside Google’s platform.