Google has announced that it is dropping support for older Microsoft Office formats. Google Docs will not export any files in older Microsoft Office formats namely .doc, .xls, .ppt. User will be able to export files in modern Microsoft Office formats such as .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx.
Those users who still have the old Microsoft file formats don't need to panic, Google will allow 'import' of any format to Google Docs and it promises to keep this unchanged. Of course Google does need to support as many formats possible for 'importing' data to Google Docs.
So, are users safe or future proof if they use a vendor-lock free, open format approved as an ISO standard?
No, not in Google land.
Why No Support For ODF?
Microsoft OOXML was approved as an ISO standard after a lot of controversy and charges of bribing voters [read the full story here & here]. The ODF was already an ISO standard so there was no need for another standard, but Microsoft wanted it's own format to become a standard so they got it though hook or crook.
When OpenAlliance was formed to create OpenDocument format Google was one of the strongest supporters of ODF. Unfortunately, today, Google Docs doesn't support ODF formats. If you are using the original ISO approved ODF formats such as .odt none of the Google services or products support it.
1. You can't see previews of .odt files if you upload them to Google Drive without conversion, on the contrary Google Docs offers previews of unconverted .docx files.
2. Google's Android can't open or view .odf files and throws errors, whereas it can open .docx files.
3. Google Chromebooks behave in the similar manner and can't offer preview or editing of .odf files.
4. Google's own QuickOffice also doesn't support import or export to ODF files.
No Support For ODF In Google Land?
So, while Google is dropping support for old Microsoft formats, it never had support for ISO approved ODF file formats. If a user wants to use Google services, the only option they have is to lock themselves inside Microsoft's file formats which is either way infamous for breaking formatting when used outside any Microsoft products.
Will Google extent support for an open format and offer full support for ODF across your services and platforms?