In today’s computing world there are more and more choices for the tools that you use everyday.  Google and Microsoft offer solutions for email, spreadsheets, word processing and document storage. I will do a side-by-side comparison of each app as both Google and Microsoft have their strong points.

The cost can be about the same or very similar for both Google Workspace and Office 365.  Both offer three billing options. At this time Microsoft offers more storage with their three options than Google.  

Outlook versus Gmail

Both Microsoft and Google offer email service that is browser based. Microsoft offers Outlook as a local application as well.

Google Gmail is web based and requires a browser to send email and use the many integrated features.  You can run Gmail in chrome app mode like a local application.

Outlook integrates a calendar, archive, and contacts.  Microsoft 365 also has Teams, a feature that allows team members to chat.  Gmail also has an integrated calendar, archive (through Google Drive) and contacts.  Gmail has a handy Google Hangouts feature to chat with teammates.

Outlook can be easier to read than gmail and easier to navigate due to it’s windows based interface.  It is more customizable regarding fonts and the appearance of email.

Both options are good, Gmail has a basic interface that is easy to learn and Outlook has more sophisticated features. Due to this Outlook has more of a learning curve than Gmail which can be a downside for some users.

Google Sheets versus Excel

Once again, Excel is typically used locally and does not require an internet connection while Google Sheets is completely online.  Multiple users can share access rights to work on the same document in Google Sheets, while Excel for desktop users find other ways to share their work, for example emailing spreadsheets to each other.  Note that Excel now has a cloud-based solution through OneDrive.

Excel has a much larger amount of storage space and can support massive spreadsheets.  At this time Google sheets does not have this capability to store massive amounts of data.

Standard functions are about the same in both applications.  However, if you’re looking to use special features such as statistical analysis, macros or data modelling, Excel is your best option. 

Google is more of a minimalist option, and many see this as more user friendly.  The learning curve is harder with Excel, however, Excel is more sophisticated and offers more options.

Word processing: Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word

For Word processing, it’s pretty straightforward to choose between Google Docs or Word.  If your team uses Google it is easy to collaborate on docs and share ideas and content.  Microsoft Word is better for users that require a much greater range of document creation features and editing abilities and is good for teams where collaboration is not important.  Again, Google Docs is basic, Word is more advanced and can be harder to learn.

Word has more powerful capabilities and tools for creating sophisticated reports, brochures, and other documents.  Google Docs has been adding templates online but Word is a much older application, it has many more features such as mail merge to create labels.  It is much more difficult to set up a mail merge in Google Docs as directions to do this are only in developer docs at this point, making it more difficult for the average user.

Once again, how your team uses word processing determines which app is better.  Google Docs is great for simple projects that need to be shared and Microsoft Word is for the more sophisticated user and has many more special features.

Google Drive Versus One Drive

One of the downsides of Google Worksuite applications is that everything is stored in Google Drive.  This brings up privacy concerns as well as the possibility that documents could be stolen by hackers.  Microsoft applications are easier to store locally within a work server and are more protected.  This is also a downside as Microsoft does not protect your local data from human error or natural disasters.

Google Drive has many advantages.  It makes collaboration easy for employees because everyone can work on the same documents and share data.  Google Drive’s interface is easy to use.  Items are automatically saved in Drive when they are created. You can assign permissions to different users and restrict editing as well. However, again, Google does not protect your data from human error, power outages and natural disaster.

Which is better? This all depends on what you need.  If your team uses Gmail and uses apps in a basic environment it makes more sense to use Google Drive.  If your team is Outlook based, and uses applications for their sophisticated features then OneDrive may be a better solution.

This covered only a few of the apps and features available through Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365.  Which ones do you prefer and why?  Let us know in the comments.