A reliable office suite helps streamline business processes and workflows. Using one ensures that coworkers can easily collaborate, share files, and communicate with each other. That being said, not every office suite fits every team, as the business may need specific features to reach its goals.
Fortunately, companies have at least two options for choosing a comprehensive package of apps: Microsoft 365 for Business and Google Workspace. While the two are similar on many levels, such as their user-friendliness, they have some significant differences.
Due to this, choosing between the two office suite giants can be challenging, especially if some team members have already been using one of them for years. Therefore, comparing the two side by side is imperative for finding out which suits your company best.
Microsoft 365 Business
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace have relatively similar prices. Both are subscription- and user-based. In addition, the office suite giants have three regular business plans and an additional one for large enterprises.
Both companies offer significant discounts for annual billing, with a tempting 15% off the monthly price for Microsoft 365 and a very generous 17% discount for Google subscriptions. Although Microsoft’s solution is somewhat more expensive, the productivity app offers more tools and apps.
Meanwhile, both office suites can be tried out for free. Google provides a 14-day period without asking for any payment, whereas a Microsoft 365 free trial lasts 30 days.
Word Processor: Microsoft Word vs Google Docs
Out of the two word processors, Google Docs is significantly easier to use, mainly because of its uncluttered interface. Granted, the number of tools Google’s word processor offers is not even close to what Microsoft Word has. In exchange, Word may seem somewhat overwhelming for first-time users.
Fortunately, the two apps can be used in conjunction since both support each other’s file formats. In addition, Word and Docs allow PDF editing by converting documents to their respective formats, which Word does faster.
When it comes to device support, both Microsoft Word and Google Docs can be used in browsers and mobile devices. However, only Word is available as a desktop app, making the word processor perfect for working offline.
Spreadsheets: Microsoft Excel vs Google Sheets
Checklists and data visualization are just two examples of why spreadsheets are a must for any business. Out of the two platforms, Sheets is more accessible due to its simple design. It offers a considerable number of charting options, too, but not as many as Excel.
Being web-based, Sheets comes with web formulas, which can be used for creating hyperlinks, encoding text to use as URLs, and more. However, Excel is the way to go for advanced reporting that requires a more comprehensive list of formulas or macros. Moreover, Excel’s charts are more customizable, offering conditional formatting, Pivot tables, and more.
As for supported devices, only Excel has a desktop app, while both Google and Microsoft come with mobile and web apps. When comparing Microsoft’s and Google’s browser apps, Sheets runs more smoothly.
Presentations: Microsoft PowerPoint vs Google Slides
Of the two presentation platforms, PowerPoint is the more comprehensive, which results in a steeper learning curve. On the flip side, creating detailed presentations with Microsoft’s software is more feasible due to its additional tools. In comparison, by offering fewer customization options, Google Slides provides a simpler and user-friendly experience.
Microsoft PowerPoint is also rich in effects, such as reflections, 3D, and various transitions, to name but a few. The software also has more themes than Slides. Surprisingly, it’s the other way around concerning pre-made templates, with Google Slides offering thousands of pre-set presentations.
When creating presentations as a team, it’s safe to say that collaborating is more straightforward with Google Slides, as presentations can be easily accessed and edited through Google Drive. Granted, it’s possible to do the same with PowerPoint’s web app, although it has fewer features than its desktop and mobile counterparts.
Email: Microsoft Outlook vs Gmail
Writing emails with either Microsoft Outlook or Gmail is quite straightforward. Specifically, both offer suggestions on how to finish words and phrases. Still, Outlook’s text prediction tool finishes words only, whereas Gmail’s smart compose can complete an entire sentence.
Contact management is similarly smooth, as both allow users to import contact details from other email clients. Organizing inboxes is also effortless in both via folders and categories. Even so, Gmail does come with the added extra of adding color codes to emails.
Microsoft’s and Google’s email providers’ main difference is in their search functions. Due to originating from a search engine, Gmail’s search function is more accurate by offering custom search tools. This includes searching for emails you sent, messages with attachments, and emails sent and received in the last seven days.
Google also offers custom search filters for narrowing down searches. Unfortunately, Outlook often yields irrelevant search results, especially in a cluttered inbox.
Team Collaboration: Microsoft Teams and Planner vs Google Chat, Meet, and Spaces
Microsoft offers two separate platforms for communication and planning, Teams and Planner, respectively. Meanwhile, Google has a two-in-one solution for chatting and planning in Google Chat, and the company delivers Meet for web conferencing.
Teams is a platform for both everyday chatting and occasional meetings. For the latter, up to 300 attendees can join for a web conferencing session. By contrast, Google Meet is catered to presenting for partners and customers with up to 500 attendees.
Although sharing to-do lists and files through Teams is possible, the real deal in project management is Planner. With this software, users can create Kanban boards for projects, assign color-coded tasks, and set up deadlines.
Google Chat’s built-in project management platform, Spaces, isn’t as intuitive as Microsoft Planner. However, it offers separate chat windows for individual projects, in which tasks and subtasks can be assigned.
File Storage and Sharing: Microsoft OneDrive vs Google Drive
The biggest difference between Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive is the storage space provided. Microsoft’s platform offers 1TB for every user, whereas Google can go up 5TB.
As for sharing files, Microsoft’s platform synchronizes faster than Google’s, regardless you use its desktop, web, or mobile app. In comparison, Google Drive’s issues are more glaring when using its desktop app, as it tends to slow down the device it’s used on. Meanwhile, finding data in Google Drive is more straightforward when using the web app, as it auto-populates files and allows narrowing searches.
Finally, collaborating is virtually identical in both OneDrive and Google Drive. Both Microsoft and Google keep file histories for thirty days, meaning older versions can be restored if a document is edited or deleted. It’s also worth mentioning that both solutions offer automated syncing, which updates in real time.
Google ensures file and browsing protection with two-factor authentication (2FA), end-to-end encryption of messages and files, and robust spam filtering. What’s more, the company has a browser-based antivirus called Google Safe Browsing that warns users of deceptive sites and checks files and emails for phishing links.
In comparison, Microsoft 365 Business provides similar features, such as 2FA, various types of encryption, antiphishing, and malware protection. The software also offers a confidential mode for messaging, meaning any email can be marked as sensitive. However, this feature is merely a label, and it does not block accessing and forwarding sensitive messages.
Microsoft’s subscribers can get even better cybersecurity by opting for the Business Premium plan. When signing up for Microsoft’s top-tier plan, businesses gain access to Microsoft Defender and Azure Information Protection. The former serves as a centralized endpoint security interface and protection against ransomware, whereas the latter encrypts emails to safeguard confidential business messages.
Just by looking at the sheer number of advanced tools provided, Microsoft 365 is seemingly victorious. Building databases and developing apps through Access and accessing newsletter templates and other marketing materials through Publisher are just two examples.
Getting Microsoft 365 Business Premium also unlocks the web-based device management interface, Microsoft Intune. With this tool, administrators can monitor every device connected to the company’s central network and delete files remotely. Meanwhile, the necessity for company-provided work devices and operating costs can be reduced with cloud-based operating systems through Azure Virtual Desktop.
Compared to Microsoft, Google falls a bit short. However, the office suite does compensate with its user-friendly API called AppSheet, which is used for developing new apps and integrating them into Google Workspace.
Overall, a reliable office suite provides many useful tools for any business. As such, choosing between Microsoft 365 Business and Google Workspace is ultimately up to personal and professional preference.
As Microsoft 365 Business’s apps are richer in features, it makes it best suited for boosting productivity. Plus, it’s also the best option when looking for a more comprehensive office suite due to the number of advanced tools and features provided.
By contrast, Google Workspace is a better solution for team collaboration. Although the products offered are more simple, their cloud-based nature provides a smoother experience for users that need to work together on the same document simultaneously.