Two of the major productivity tools that are designed to provide a “one-stop-shop” for business cloud tools are Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace (formerly known as G-Suite).
Cloud solutions have become vital to operating a business in an unpredictable world. They offer the flexibility of allowing employees to work from anywhere and can keep companies operational in the event of a major disaster.
Both Microsoft and Google have built a toolbox of different applications that companies can use as the main work hub for productivity in multiple areas. The goal is to keep customers from having to look elsewhere for associated work tools.
Both applications have their own forms of the following productivity apps:
- Word processing
- Team messaging
- Video conferencing
- Virtual notebook
- Cloud storage
Each one also has applications specific to its own platform that may sound similar but aren’t quite the same thing. For example, Google Workspace offers Google Sites for building internal and external websites. Microsoft 365 has SharePoint, which is also used for creating internal and external sites but is additionally tied into automation, lists, and areas of the platform like Teams.
So, which of these two powerhouse tools is the best fit for your business? We’ll go through a comparison below to help you decide.
Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace
Foundation & Where They Came From
Microsoft and Google approach the foundation of their cloud tools differently.
Microsoft’s history lies in its suite of popular Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), which was sold as an offline software for many years before becoming a cloud subscription. It still sells an offline version today for those apps.
This is why Microsoft 365 used to be called Office 365. And that tie to a traditional software environment is what many people like about the platform.
Microsoft 365 provides the best of both worlds, a hybrid cloud environment. Users can use any of the applications online in a cloud environment or use a version that is installed on their computer and can be used offline or connect to the cloud for certain functionalities.
On the other hand, Google began as a search engine rooted in the online world. And the Google Workspace tools are still mainly browser-based, although some do allow a certain amount of offline work.
However, the entire environment is basically cloud-dependent and there is no software installation in the same way as Microsoft 365.
Compatibility of File Format
Microsoft’s PPT, DOC, and XLS have become common file types that most offices use. You can send a Word document to a client and feel fairly certain they’ll be able to open it.
But if you try sending a Google Docs or Sheets link, there’s a chance they won’t recognize the format. So, for offices using non-Microsoft document tools, there’s usually an additional conversion step that has to be done to convert a Google document to an MS format before it’s sent out.
With any type of conversion from one format to another, there can be functionality or formatting changes, which can change the look of your document.
So, for compatibility Microsoft 365 wins.
Ease of Use
Both platforms are designed to be easy to use, but Google slightly edges out Microsoft in this respect.
People can easily get lost in the Microsoft 365 menu in programs like Word and Excel, and not many people know they can use the very top search bar to get to a function quickly (such as setting tabs).
The Google Workspace interface for tools like Docs and Sheets has far fewer menu options to sort through, which makes for a lower learning curve for new users.
The pricing between the two for business subscriptions is fairly similar. Here is a rundown of each platform’s business subscription:
- Business Starter: $6/user/month (30 GB cloud storage, 100 participant video meetings)
- Business Standard: $12/user/month (2 TB cloud storage, 150 participant video meetings)
- Business Plus: $18/user/month (5 TB cloud storage, 250 participant video meetings)
- Basic: $5/user/month (1 TB cloud storage, no offline version of the Office apps, no limit on video calls)
- Standard: $12.50/user/month (1 TB cloud storage, no limit on video calls)
- Premium: $20.00/user/month (1 TB cloud storage, no limit on video calls, Intune endpoint device manager app)
You get more per-user storage with Google Workspace in all but the lowest plan, but Microsoft 365 doesn’t cap the number of video meetings like Google’s plans do.
Also, Microsoft’s Premium plan includes a powerful endpoint device manager, Microsoft Intune, that can greatly improve security for mobile devices and remote employees.
Both platforms provide a full array of work tools that integrate for a consistent user experience.
If you have more inexperienced users and are all about a cloud environment, then Google Workspace might be the platform for you.
If you prefer to have the flexibility to easily work offline and online in certain tools and are looking for compatibility with those outside your office, then Microsoft 365 may be your best option.
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