G Suite vs Office 365

G Suite (previously called Google Apps for Work) and Microsoft’s Office 365 offer similar set of productivity tools. Which one should you choose for your small business in 2019?

Plug: TeamWave – Simple CRM, Project Management & HR Software for G Suite

1. Cost and Commitment

G Suite has straightforward pricing with two plans: $5/user and $10/user (monthly)

First plan offers:

  • Company email addresses (name@company.com)
  • Video/voice calls
  • Integrated online calendars
  • 30GB online storage with option to sync and share files
  • Online documents, presentations and spreadsheets
  • Easy to create project sites
  • Security settings and admin control panel
  • Support via phone/email (24/7)

Second plan offers unlimited storage with vault:

  • Unlimited Storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 members)
  • Advanced admin control panel for Google Drive
  • Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
  • Google Vault for eDiscovery across emails, docs and chats
  • Searching and exporting to different formats
  • Email archiving
  • Retention policies for messages
  • Option to place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes

Office 365 has complex pricing plans:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials  ($5.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Business  ($8.25/user/month)
  • Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50/user/month)
  • Office 365 ProPlus  ($12.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1 ($8.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E3 ($20.00/user/month)
  • Office 365 Enterprise E5 ($35.00/user/month)

Without going to the detailed offerings of each plan, we’ll check out the comparable plans from Office 365 and G Suite:

  • $5/user/month plan offered by Google and $5/user/month‘Business Essentials’ plan offered by Microsoft
  • $10/user/month ‘Unlimited’ plan offered by Google and $8/user/month ‘Enterprise E1’ offered by Microsoft

Office 365 Business Essentials will cost $5/user/month with annual subscription, where as the monthly subscription will cost $6/user/month. Essentially you’ll save $1 user/month with G suite. Office 365 ‘Enterprise E1’ will cost $2 less than G Suite Unlimited.

2. Email

Although both Gmail and Office 365 offer clean interface, the major differentiation lies in the way emails are organised – Gmail lets you apply multiple labels to an email and Office 365 has classical folder structure to categorise emails. In terms of storage space, Gmail offers 30 GB (across Gmail and Drive) and Microsoft offers dedicated 50GB inbox in addition to 1TB storage. Microsoft’s Enterprise E3 ($20/user/month) offers unlimited storage.

3. Applications

Microsoft offers desktop versions of their products along with cloud based apps. You’ll be able to install the full versions of Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook etc. on your laptop/desktop and work offline.

Google apps were developed from scratch only for cloud-based collaboration. For example, Google Docs lets users make permanent changes in the file and provide feedback on the content in the “suggestion” mode (helps the author approve the final edits). Here are some of the advanced functionality offered by Google as part of the latest update:

  • Machine intelligence in Google Calendar to quickly find a time when invitees are free
  • Natural Language Processing in Google Sheets to
  • Machine intelligence in Google Docs to automatically recommend related topics to learn more and insert images
  • Dynamic layout suggestions in Google Slides
  • Better file management and granular content ownership with a focus on team in Google Drive

4. Video Call

Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer video conferencing solutions via Hangouts and Skype respectively. Here are the

  • Most important thing to note here is that Microsoft has not yet fully integrated Skype with other apps offered by Office 365 and Yammer.  But, Hangouts has tight integration with other Google apps like Docs, Calendar, Maps along with social networks like YouTube
  • Skype Translator can help you communicate in 8 languages for voice calls (near real-time), and in more than 50 languages while instant messaging
  • The maximum number of participants allowed in Hangout is 50, where as Skype has 250 as the upper limit

5. Third-party Integration

You’ll be hard pushed to find apps these days that don’t claim to integrate with G Suite. Google’s integration with CRM, productivity and customer service software means you have many options. For example, TeamWave (Project management, CRM & HR software for small business) is fully integrated with GDrive, Google Hangouts, etc.

There are some very popular productivity apps that do not have integration with Office 365 because Microsoft is not perceived as developer friendly (in comparison to Google)

6. Security

Office 365 comes with Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – a new email filtering service that provides additional protection by targeting specific advanced threats like unknown malware and viruses, real-time, time-of-click protection against malicious URLs.

Google uses its robust machine learning capabilities to detect suspicious logins and block most advanced types of spam. Note that Google also automatically scans every email attachment before a user downloads it in order to prevent spread of viruses.

7. Compatibility

Microsoft files can be uploaded to Google Drive, but a lot of features won’t be supported by Google and formatting will be lost as well. G Suite Sync for Outlook can sync your mail, contacts, calendar events, Outlook notes, and tasks between your Google profile in Outlook and your G Suite account in the cloud.

You can download Google Drive files (docs, spreadsheets, slides, etc.) to your desktop and easily edit them with Office apps.

8. Support

Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer 24/7 phone support in English and depending on the country, language can change. While email support is available for both products; Google provides additional support via live chat. You can also access forums to seek clarification, give feedback and request additional functionality.

9. Storage Options

All of the plans offered by Office 365 come with 1TB storage for each user, where as Google’s starter plan gives 30GB. Note that Google considers email storage as part of the 30 GB quota.

But, if you go for the G Suite Unlimited, storage-wise it’ll offer better solutions in comparison to all the plans offered by Microsoft. This will be really helpful if your company handles large audio/video files.

Bottom Line

If you are a small business (1-50 people) then go with G Suite.

Reasons to choose G Suite:

  • File storage: G Suite’s unlimited plan provides better value in terms of data storage
  • Scalability: You’ll be able to add unlimited users (the ‘Business’ plans by Office 365 have maximum limit of 300 users)
  • Collaboration: Google apps were built with a strong focus on collaboration
  • Usability: G Suite apps are easy-to-use and the loading time is also less in comparison to Office 365
  • Multi device: If your business uses various operating systems and devices, then Google is a better choice
  • Integration: Majority of third party apps offer native integration with G Suite, as Google has traditionally been developer-friendly

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Microsoft Office 365 Alternatives

Microsoft’s Office 365 is the latest cloud-based office suite that mimics the functionalities of their desktop software. It offers a document processor, spreadsheet, presentation, publishing, and email service. These apps are offered in a tiered pricing plan depending on the requirements of the buyer — starts from $6 per month per user ($5 in annual subscription) and goes up to $15 per month per user ($12.50 in annual payment). However, if you’re not interested in Microsoft solutions and looking for other options, there are good number of alternatives that offer similar features.

We have compiled the following suites by factoring in the pricing, feature set, and compatibility with Microsoft Office file types and formats. These alternatives are in no particular order.

G Suite by Google

Google apps were developed from scratch only for cloud-based collaboration. For example, Google Docs lets users make permanent changes in the file and provide feedback on the content in the “suggestion” mode (helps the author approve the final edits). Here are some of the advanced functionality offered by Google as part of the latest update:

  • Machine intelligence in Google Calendar to quickly find a time when invitees are free
  • Natural Language Processing in Google Sheets to come with automated analysis and visualization
  • Machine intelligence in Google Docs to automatically recommend related topics to learn more and insert images
  • Dynamic layout suggestions in Google Slides
  • Better file management and granular content ownership with a focus on team in Google Drive

It’d be really difficult to find apps that don’t claim to integrate with G Suite. Google’s integration with CRM, productivity and customer service software means you have many options. For example, TeamWave (Project management, CRM & HR software for small business) is fully integrated with GDrive, Google Hangouts, etc.

All of the plans offered by Office 365 come with 1TB storage for each user, where as Google’s starter plan gives 30GB. Note that Google considers email storage as part of the 30 GB quota. But, if you go for the G Suite Unlimited, storage-wise it’ll offer better solutions in comparison to all the plans offered by Microsoft. This will be really helpful if your company handles large audio/video files.

G Suite has straightforward pricing with two plans – $5/user and $10/user (monthly), which comes with security settings and admin control panel along with support via phone/email (24/7).

Open365

Open365 is the new name in the world of cloud-based office suites. It’s based on the excellent LibreOffice, a free open-source Micorosft Office alternative. That means users would feel like using LibreOffice in a web browser when they deploy Open365.

Since Open365 is primarily a full-fledged app suite running in the cloud, users get to access a lot more than what any other online office suite offers. Microsoft’s Office 365 has removed some features from its comprehensive offline suite. You won’t have any such problems with Open365 and LibreOffice. Open365 can be used to create and edit LibreOffice documents on a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer and access the documents from any machine without having to transfer them.

The focus is on documents but support goes beyond other widely used document formats such as docx, xls or pptx. Open365 supports an image viewer that supports all common image formats, and a media player to play audio and video content. The option to install Open365 on own server makes it useful for users who need complete control over documents.

In terms of convenience for everyday usage, Office 365 and even Google Drive seem better options at the moment.

iWork for iCloud

One of Apple’s not-so-known cloud-based office suite, iWork actually comes for free to anyone in the world. It doesn’t even mandate an Apple device to use the apps. All you need to do is use an Apple ID that can be created by anyone. It offers apps like Pages (document processor), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (presentation).

The most notable features are Microsoft Office compatibility, collaboration over the web, cloud storage and mobile compatibility. Although iWork application suite works best on a Mac with iWork installed on it, the browser version doesn’t really limit any feature. The biggest positive aspect is how well it works with Microsoft Office files – the formatting remains perfect, and Apple’s fonts actually make the outcome look better.

In spite of all these, iWork is only good for basic office suite usage. If you create complex Excel spreadsheets or want to write a university or enterprise level research paper, you would be better off with G Suite.

Thinkfree Office Online

Thinkfree’s online version comes with Word (document processor), Cell (spreadsheets) and Show (presentations). It allows users to create and edit rich documents via web browser and comes with collaboration for multiple users to edit the same document in real-time. Another important factor is its tight compatibility with Microsoft Word documents. The spreadsheet app allows usage of Excel formula and functions apart from re-calculation in real-time. Similarly the presentation app also offers rich animations like Microsoft PowerPoint. This suite is perfect for the users who prefer minimalistic apps as it features just several tools for office tasks. 


TeamWave Project CRM HR Software

 

Google Cloud Platform Vs. Microsoft Azure

The cloud services business is a trillion dollar market. There was a time when Amazon (AWS) was dominating this market. Google launched own cloud service in 2011, and Microsoft unveiled its Azure cloud platform around the same time. Although the top spot for the most used cloud platform belongs to Amazon, Google and Azure are not far behind. Check out our previous post on AWS and GCP comparison.

Google and Azure are in close competition not only by dropping price, but also by launching several useful features. However, sometimes the two cloud platforms seem to trail each other so closely that the overall value delivery becomes indistinguishable. If the size and price of Amazon cloud are not for you, the next best choices will be limited to Google and Azure. But how should a user choose between the two cloud offerings?

Google has better Compute Engine

Google offers a powerful Compute Engine that has been available to all the users since 2013. This Engine allows users to operate virtual CPUs and categorize those into groups and regions. It also comes with useful features like virtual machine live migration, load balancing, better core availability, speedy persistent disks, and extended OS support. Azure doesn’t really have a comparable system. Azure did debut a compute service of its own about a year before Google did, but it has not been improved or made available to all the users like the Google engine has been since inception. Users can assign virtual machines with Azure using a separate service that requires getting predefined by the user, Microsoft, or a third party. Azure allows users to assign memory capacity and number of cores to a virtual machine. However, features stop there and Google clearly has a superior product in this aspect.

Google has a slightly better pricing

Both Google and Azure have a minute-based on-demand pricing structure. Both are quite flexible when compared to an hour-based service like the one Amazon offers. On demand here means that customers don’t need to pay an upfront cost or reserve usage in advance. You pay as per your usage. Google has a minimum of 10 minutes of usage and rounds up the total usage time to the number of minutes. Azure does pretty much the same thing.

Google, however, has upgraded the pricing structure to calculate sustained use. It means that the longer someone uses the service, the cheaper it would be. Google offers discounts for prolonged use of its service. This structure allows Google to have an excellent price advantage over Amazon. But for Azure, the service offers discounts for some short-term commitments or reserved usage. So, that gives Google a slight advantage here when it comes to pricing.

Azure offers hybrid cloud networking

Azure offers a virtual network that is similar to the popular Virtual Private Clouds offered by Amazon. These virtual networks allow users to group or categorize virtual machines as isolated networks on the platform. Users can then go on to define network topology, create route tables, set subnets, assign private IP addresses, or make network gateways. Essentially, this allows services to extend beyond a single data center premise on the public cloud. Google’s networking service, in comparison, is available on a single network. Users can define gateway addresses and ranges for all instances on this network. Users can enhance security by receiving public IP addresses and applying firewall rules to an instance. But Google doesn’t offer hybrid cloud services like Azure does in this regard.

Google offers fully supported storage and archiving

Google offers users ephemeral storage in which storage starts and gets subsequently deleted with an instance. They also offer persistent disk storage to hold files longer and Cloud Storage for objects. And all stored files are supported with Google’s additional applications throughout. For example, Google supports stored relational databases via the Cloud SQL service. Google’s most popular services like Big Table, Big Query, and Hadoop are fully supported with storage. They also offer archiving with Nearline, which is relatively cheap but has no recovery latency.

Azure, in comparison, offers only a “D drive” for temporary storage. Microsoft’s block storage option called Page Blobs are available on the platform as well. Azure does support NoSQL and relational databases. A limited number of services, like HDInsight and Windows Azure Table are available for big data. However, there is no archiving support available.

Google offers perks to indie developers

Google has a brand new service called ‘Always Free’, which comes with usage tier available for many of its products at no additional cost. While it doesn’t make a big difference for heavy users, Always Free offers excellent advantages to indie developers and cash-strapped start-ups that might want to test prototypes or set up private beta testing. Azure doesn’t have a comparable service. But, they allow users to add virtual networks with no additional cost.

Takeaway

The primary advantage that Google offers is that the services are expanding and improving at a steady pace. Google Cloud has come a long way since its debut about 6 years ago. In comparison, Azure, which was launched around the same time lags behind in certain key service areas.


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