2020 has been a year of surprises. And now Google has thrown a bomb by announcing about the “Google Workspace”. Google Workspace is not just the new name of G Suite. It is a complete revamp of the company’s product offerings. In the wake of COVID-19, we saw that there were many changes in the Google Offerings to ease up work from home and increase productivity. The offerings have evolved in the last few months and that has again made us think which one is better for your business – Google Workspace or Microsoft 365?
As Javier Soltoro, the Google Workspace head points out that G Suite and Microsoft 365 suggest the traditional way of working from office buildings. But now as more people prefer working from home, this has led to the need for a virtual workspace. The virtual office teams are in the lookout for cloud storage options and easy and affordable ways to collaborate and discuss. And thus we are here to help you out in choosing a better option for your business, by comparing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 – Which one is better for your business?
Google Workspace – Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is an integrated suite of cloud-native, secure collaboration and productivity apps that are powered by Google AI.
Microsoft 365 – Microsoft 365, formerly known as Office 365, is an integrated solution that includes OneDrive Cloud Storage, Teams and Office Apps with advanced security options, available at one place.
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Factors taken into consideration for Comparison
- Plans and Pricing
- Word Processing: Google Docs vs Microsoft Word
- Spreadsheets: Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel
- Presentations: Google Slides vs Microsoft PowerPoint
- Email: Gmail vs Microsoft Outlook
- Video Conferencing: Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams
- Collaboration features
- Cloud File Storage and Sharing
- Third-Party Integrations
- Ease of Use
- Customer Support
Plans and Pricing: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
Google Workspace Plans
The Business Plus Plan of Google Workspace is a new plan which targets SMBs which are on the lookout for more advanced capabilities but do not need entire enterprise-level offerings. For the teams and departments that need Drive, Meet or Docs but also want to use their current calendar and email system can subscribe for the Essentials Plan($8/user/month). Large companies will benefit from their enterprise-grade administrative controls, additional productivity features and advanced security and compliance capabilities.
Microsoft 365 Plans
The pricing is different for yearly basis and month to month basis which makes it a bit complicated. Although, they have many good features like 250 participants can join the video call irrespective of which plan it is.
Takeaway: We will consider Google Workspace to be a winner here. Because Business Email, required by all businesses, is missing in the Basic plan of Microsoft 365. And also Google Workspace has an option of Unlimited Cloud storage which is missing in Microsoft 365. This clearly shows that Google Workspace is more prepared to take up the remote work environment compared to the latter.
Productivity Apps: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
#1 Word Processing: Google Docs vs Microsoft Word
Google Docs has made it easy to collaborate with teams as many people can work on the same file at the same time. Unlike the Microsoft counterpart – Microsoft Word, Google Docs does not create many versions of the same document and the editing and reviewing process is simpler. Google Workspace has also come up with a new feature for Google Docs. Now hovering over a linked Slides file will open an inline window. Thus opening the Slide file at the same place. And also we can use @mention to show contact details as well as suggested activities.
Now talking about Microsoft Word, every computer and now even mobile versions have Microsoft Word and almost everyone is familiar with features of Microsoft Word. It gives more control over text formatting and image positioning. It can easily and smoothly integrate with other Microsoft apps. They have many customizable templates. Businesses can use this for reporting or creating flyers and brochures.
Takeaway: If we talk about working remotely, businesses presently use tools through which they can collaborate and the ones which are accessible anytime anywhere. And Google Docs fits the bill. Not only can the users select whom to collaborate with, but they can also give different levels of accessibility to different users. If the businesses are planning to integrate with other Microsoft apps or if the users are on the lookout for extensive formatting and layout work then Microsoft Word is the goto App. Also, Google Docs does not have a desktop version and has to rely on the internet for editing and collaborating.
#2 Spreadsheets: Google Sheets vs Microsoft Excel
Google Sheets allows for real-time collaboration. Many people can work on the same file at the same time. The work by each user is shown in a different colour. Google Sheets can be accessed from anywhere, all it needs is an internet connection. Cloud storage eliminates the need to store the file in a desktop or hard drive. Revision history is available and you need not save all the new versions with a new name. Google Sheets also has a built-in chat option and users can leave comments for the others to see.
Microsoft Excel is extremely popular, thus, the knowledge bases are extensive. Excel documents that belong to the older versions of Excel may not open properly with Google Sheets. It also integrates more easily with other Microsoft Apps such as Powerpoint and word. It has a range of 60+ templates. This can be used for different business purposes. Also, it has a variety of bars, charts and graph options which can be used for reports and presentations.
Takeaway: Both of them are great spreadsheet tools. It totally depends on what are the needs of the businesses. If the businesses are in need of basic features and real-time collaboration then Google Sheets is the best go-to tool. Even if another user does not have access to a business’s Google Workspace, all they need is a Google account to collaborate on the Google Sheets but this is quite difficult with Excel and the external user must have access to Microsoft 365 Apps. If businesses have the need to extensively integrate with other Microsoft apps, high-end data analytics and computational features, then they need to go for Microsoft Excel.
#3 Presentations: Google Slides vs Microsoft PowerPoint
Google Slides is easily accessible as all it needs is an internet connection and a Google account to run. While working online, the data gets automatically saved to Google Drive. Real-time collaborations can be done with ease. The teams can chat, comment and edit at the same time when working for presentations. It has access to only limited animation and transition features.
Microsoft Powerpoint is designed to work on a PC. Its offline version has a diversity of features and cool animations which help to create advanced presentations. But Powerpoint online lacks these advanced features. Collaboration is possible through 2010 and higher versions of Powerpoint but it is not as smooth as in Google Slides. It has a huge gallery of ready to use templates which can be used for different business purposes such as marketing plans, reports or event invites. There are a lot of opportunities to embed or create visual content in Powerpoint.
Takeaway: Both these apps have their own unique advantage. If the businesses are on the lookout for advanced presentations with cool animations and extensive features then Powerpoint presentation is a good choice. But if businesses are looking for easy collaborations with basic features so that the files are available anytime, anywhere then Google Slides is the tool.
#4 Business Email: Gmail vs Microsoft Outlook
Business Email of Google Workspace is also Gmail, which is the most popular online tool to send and receive emails. The users of the Basic plan have 30GB Storage for the Drive and Gmail combined. The users can send only file sizes less than 25MB but they can also attach Drive links without taking into consideration the size limit. There is a sending limit of 2000 emails and 86400 emails can be received a day.
Business Email for Microsoft 365 is Microsoft Outlook. The business mails are hosted with a 50GB mailbox storage. 5000 Emails can be sent per day. They have offline access to email accounts. Sorting options are available to find emails easily by date, size or sender name. It can also easily collaborate with other Microsoft Apps.
Takeaway: Gmail is a winner when it comes to using time-saving and productivity tools but in case of large companies where there is a need to manage others’ calendars or inboxes then Outlook is a better option. Also appointment booking tools are available in Outlook which is missing in Gmail. But Gmail has a more user-friendly interface. And also unlimited storage option is not available for any Microsoft 365 Plans.
#5 Video Conferencing: Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams
Google Meet was earlier known as Google Hangouts Meet. Google Meets easily integrates with Google Workspace. Thus it is easy to set up meetings when using other Google Tools. With the latest update Google Meet Icon appears in Gmail itself thus there is no need to change apps to make a call. With Google Meet the businesses can support up to 250 participants and up to 100000 viewers. The calls can also be set up via the Google Calendar. Meet conferences or materials, shared during the call, can be recorded and saved in Google Drive.
Microsoft Teams allows 250 participants irrespective of the plan. Just like Google Meets, Microsoft Teams can also be integrated with Microsoft 365 apps. The users can share screens to show real-time demonstrations or videos. Documents can be uploaded using the Teams chat feature. Teams lets the user create a breakout room. And the meetings are encrypted such that uninvited guests cannot jump in to disrupt the meeting.
Takeaway: If planning for collaborations and video conferencing then Google Meets is much easier to use than Microsoft Teams. It is easier to schedule meetings and send links to users who don’t have a Google Account. If the Google Account users accept the meeting link, it automatically gets added to their Calendar. In Microsoft Teams, to add the call-in feature, the user needs to have a Microsoft 365 subscription. The cost required to use Microsoft Teams as a part of Microsoft 365 is much higher than that for Google Teams as a part of Google Workspace with more or less the same capabilities.
Collaboration features: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
Google Workspace allows for easy and real-time collaboration. Be it working on the same Google Doc, Sheet or Slide deck, multiple users can work at the same time. It is easy to add other users or email them the link. The revision of the files happens in real-time. Thus, the team is updated as to what changes were made, by whom and at what time.
People and businesses all over the world widely use Microsoft 365. When a document is sent to other users, chances that the document will be compatible with Microsoft Apps is higher. Also as the Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint offer advanced features as compared to Google Workspace Apps, if someone wants to create more polished documents then this is the best option.
Takeaway: Google Workspace as well as Microsoft 365 both have their pros and cons. One has to determine the better tool based on their business needs. For advanced features and functionalities, Microsoft 365 is a better option. On the other hand, for easy collaboration and basic functions, Google Workspace is the best option.
Third-Party Integrations: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
The businesses can easily integrate third-party apps to Google Workspace to increase the efficiency of the teams. Google Workspace Marketplace offers 750+ third-party apps that help users to enhance their productivity with Google Workspace. The apps belong to categories such as CRM, Project Management, Administering domain etc. For Example, integrating Google Workspace with TeamWave CRM allows users to sync events, milestones, contacts, and files with ease to Google Platforms like Google Calendar, Google Drive, Gmail etc.
Microsoft 365 has embedded Power Apps which allow the users to build, customize and publish apps such as chatbots to Microsoft Teams to automate the workflow. But, Microsoft 365 does not have very popular productivity apps. One major reason is that developers consider Google to be more user-friendly and less restricting in terms of App policies as compared to Microsoft.
Takeaway: Third-party integrations can take the business to a whole new level by increasing the productivity of the employees. Integrations will help increase the collaboration and transparency between the businesses and their employees. So Google Workspace is a clear winner here as Microsoft 365 still needs to step up in this department and offer more integrations that suit different business needs.
Ease of Use: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
Google Workspace has a simple admin control panel thus helping users to easily add their team members to collaborate on Google Apps. One advantage is that the document automatically gets saved to Google Drive, even if the user hasn’t named the file. Thus, the documents are always up-to-date.
Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint are more familiar and used widely. One disadvantage is that it has a lot of features which might be confusing and overwhelming for someone who just requires the basic functions.
Takeaway: The design of Google Apps is not as eye-appealing as those of Microsoft 365. But if the businesses are looking for easy online collaboration, clean and simple interface and “work from any device” kind of an environment then Google Workspace is the best option. But at the end of the day, the learning curve is what matters. If the users are more familiar with any one of these, then that will be the best for the business.
Customer Support: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
Google Workspace has 24/7 customer support available through phone, chat and email. Phone support is available in 14 languages. Also, they have a help centre with lots of guides and documents to help the users manage their business at Google Workspace. Also, the users can reach out to other Google experts and administrators through the community forums. When a user seeks customer support from a real person, Google is quick to respond.
Microsoft 365 also provides support through email and phone. They have a huge searchable knowledge base with how-to- guides and self-help documentation. Thus helping the users to troubleshoot the issues by themselves. Microsoft values its customers a lot and the same customer support is visible in Microsoft 365.
Takeaway: In terms of customer support, both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 do a great job. They help out the customers 24/7, through their guides, email, chat and in-person support.
Security: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
Google Workspace is built on Google’s cloud infrastructure. It uses the same security features as that of Google. Thus helping in automatic detection of phishing attempts, suspicious activity and other hacking attempts. The users can use Two-Factor authentication to secure their accounts. Google Workspace has built-in spam, malware and virus detection which constantly scans all files and attachments.
Microsoft 365 allows businesses to enable Multiple Factor Authentication for all user passwords. Using its AI tools, it keeps a track of the user activities and raises a flag if it detects suspicious activity. Microsoft 365 has a device management tool, which restricts user access to company-owned devices thus preventing the user from leaking information.
Takeaway: Both the platforms have deployed security infrastructures and strive to protect the user data.
What is our Final Verdict – Google Workspace or Microsoft 365?
Personally, we are partial towards Google Workspace and consider it to be the best choice for small businesses because of the following reasons:
- You can create Google as well as MS Documents while working with Google Workspace whereas this is not possible through Microsoft 365. Well, this point fits for basic level documents because when the functionality increases the compatibility between Google Documents and Microsoft counterparts will be less.
- Presently when “remote working” is the new normal, there is nothing better than Google Workspace that provides better real-time collaboration. Be it controlling the view or edit access to team members or working simultaneously on a document, this happens with a few clicks in Google Workspace.
- The cloud storage in the higher plans of Google Workspace gives it an extra edge over Microsoft 365, especially for the businesses who are on the lookout for more cloud storage. The Premium Plan of Google Workspace even has unlimited cloud storage.
- The easy to use interface and accessibility of all Google Apps at the same place makes it easier to switch from one Google App to another as long as one has a steady internet connection. This is never possible in the Microsoft Desktop versions.
- For businesses that use multiple devices and operating systems, Google Workspace is surely a blessing in disguise.
- Businesses can increase their productivity and scale up the business by integrating Google tools like Gmail and Google Drive with customer relationship management(CRM) and Project Management Tools.
Microsoft 365 is a good choice for companies that work extensively on desktop versions. And, if the businesses are looking for advanced features, then Microsoft 365 is more feature-rich than Google Apps.
Finally the businesses need to take a call depending on their requirements and the comfort of their employees.
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