Chromebooks are getting a big upgrade to take on Windows 11 laptops

HP Chromebook
(Image credit: HP)

Google is planning to add Microsoft 365 integration to Chrome OS later in 2023, according to a memo on the tech giant’s community thread. Chrome OS does technically already have support for Microsoft 365 currently, but this integration will make it easier to install individual apps and open files on Chromebooks. 

Users will have access to a guide that’ll help them install the Microsoft 365 app and connect OneDrive accounts to the existing Chrome OS Files app, allowing you to easily see all of your stuff in one place. This will work both ways for Chromebook users, meaning documents in the Files app can be moved to Microsoft’s cloud storage and saves them from having to use PWA apps (Progressive Web Apps - basically just third-party apps that act as a middleman between systems). 

Chrome OS testers will have the first look in a few months, but Google has shared a screenshot of what it’s going to look like in the files app, showing us what the prompt to set up Microsoft 365 on a Chromebook will look like. 

This is perfect for people who often have to switch between their Chromebooks and the Windows PCs they use at work or school, as they can easily set up Microsoft 365 on their Chromebook and have their work with them no matter the device they’re using. This seamless connectivity will make a lot of people's lives easier and we’re here for it!

Screenshot of proposed integration prompt on a Chromebook

(Image credit: Google)

Analysis: Now was the perfect time for Microsoft to make its move

System integration like this means that if you were thinking about switching to a Chromebook, now is the best time! Whatever system you’re using right now, this ability to move between them and transfer your data is a huge push to the realm of Google. There are so many great Chromebooks out there to choose from, whether you’re a student or a professional. 

Chromebooks are incredibly versatile devices. You’ve got standard laptops and 2-in-1 hybrids that add a little bit of flexibility to your device. If you’re a student you need a simple, sturdy bit of hardware that will handle being tossed about in your backpack but still keep up with you and your assignments. 

If you’re a professional looking to make the switch, there are Chromebooks like the HP Elite Dragonfly that are built for business and have a strong premium feel. Google's new integration would make moving your important files and documents easier and keep your set-up efforts low, a convenient feature if your office computers all run on Windows with Office 365.

Overall, we’re excited to see how this plays out, as are many Chrome OS users. It’s actually quite surprising to see Microsoft and Google playing nice for once; the two tech titans are often in competition, and the modern prevalence of the Google Drive suite must be a point of contention for MS since it’s very obviously, ah, inspired by the 365 software suite.

Still, this is a canny move from Microsoft; it’s already buddy-buddy with plenty of the laptop manufacturers making Chromebooks right now, and since Google axed its own Pixelbook hardware division, MS is poised to take further advantage of the Chrome OS platform.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).