Before the days of cloud computing, most businesses only needed word processing and spreadsheet software for employees to run their day-to-day operations.
Nowadays, it's not so simple. Modern businesses need office productivity software with essential applications like document creation, business email, videoconferencing tools and cloud storage to get their work done.
On top of that, there are a plethora of office productivity suites to choose from. But when it's time to make a final decision, it usually comes down to one of two choices: Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace.
Here at Egyptian Workspace Partners, we know that choosing the right office suite isn't always easy, which is why we're happy to help you every step of the way.
In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace so that you can choose the best platform for your business.
Note: We only sell Microsoft 365 licenses. Regardless of that, we want you to choose the best solution for your business, and we can help implement either Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace products into your workspace.
mICROSOFT 365 VS. GOOGLE WORKSPACE
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are subscription-based cloud platforms that charge businesses per person each month. These fees are based on the features your business needs in an office suite.
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a line of subscription services with cloud services, collaboration tools and popular productivity apps like Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as frequent updates and new features.
Microsoft applications are available for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android operating systems, but there are also web-based versions of its apps with fewer capabilities.
What is Google Workspace?
Originally known as G Suite, Google Workspace is a collection of cloud computing, collaboration tools and productivity software like Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Google Workspace works in most web browsers on any operating system, and there are also apps for Android and iOS devices. It's only web-based, but it does have the capability to work offline.
Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace both offer online apps for free and plans with similar pricing and capabilities. For essential security and management features, businesses should look to paid subscriptions.
Pricing options for Microsoft 365 are complex. There are multiple Office 365 plans for education, government, nonprofit and other institutions, and four plans for small and medium businesses with up to 300 employees:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic - $5 per user a month with 1 TB of cloud storage, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams and mobile and web versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Business - $8.25 per user a month with 1 TB of cloud storage, OneDrive, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher (PC only) and Access (PC only)
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard - $12.50 per user a month with 1 TB of cloud storage, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Outlook business email, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher (PC only) and Access (PC only)
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium - $20 per user a month with 1 TB of cloud storage, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Intune, Outlook business email, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only), advanced cyberthreat protection and device management
Business Standard and Business Premium plans are available for one-time free trials. All Microsoft 365 plans can be installed on up to 15 devices per user.
By contrast, Google Workspace offers only three pricing plans to choose from:
- Basic - $6 per user a month with 30 GB of cloud storage, Gmail business email, video and voice conferencing, Chat, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, Keep, Currents and Apps Script
- Business - $12 per user a month with unlimited cloud storage and archiving, Gmail business email, enterprise search capabilities, additional administrative tools and all Basic plan applications
- Enterprise - $25 per user a month with unlimited storage, business email, enterprise search capabilities, all Business plan applications and even more administrative controls
It's also worth noting the basic plan is available to nonprofits for free. Unlimited storage only comes with business and enterprise plans that have five or more users. Otherwise, there's a storage limit of 1 TB per user.
Winner: Google Workspace
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer similar features for approximately the same price, but Google Workspace is the winner of this round for a specific reason.
Google Workspace includes Gmail business email on all plans, including its basic version. Microsoft 365 does not provide access to Outlook business email with its basic plan.
2. Productivity Apps
Both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer productivity software for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations. They offer browser-based versions, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
Microsoft 365 gives users access to popular document creation apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which are available as desktop software, browser-based versions and mobile apps.
All three apps can make your workflow easier and more productive. Each application is packed with superior features, like intuitive suggestion tools and more than 50 pre-built templates to choose from.
Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are also fully integrated and share files. Users can easily create new documents offline and save and sync their edits to the cloud.
Google Workspace productivity software like Docs, Sheets and Slides are browser-based and optimized for Google Chrome. There are also apps for iOS and Android devices.
Docs, Sheets and Slides fully integrate with one another and make it easy for users to work from anywhere, at any time, with secure access to web-based files and documents.
There are currently no desktop versions of these apps, and their offline functionality is quite limited. Users can mark files for offline access and their changes will automatically update when they reconnect to the Internet.
Winner: Microsoft 365
In regard to document creation, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are very similar. However, Microsoft 365 has a slight edge due to its wide range of power features and the ability to work offline.
Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint offer far more sophisticated features and they each have more than 50 professional templates to choose from. The desktop versions also easily sync and save edits to the cloud.
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides perform better in web browsers, but they lack the intuitive features and pre-built templates that Microsoft provides. There's also no easy way to edit documents without an Internet connection.
3. live collaboration
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are built around collaboration. Both suites offer live document editing and commenting, so users can easily collaborate with people within or outside their organization in real-time.
Microsoft 365 lets multiple workers work on the same document at the same time. Users can easily leave comments, make suggestions and save files to the cloud without losing changes.
One of the main benefits of using Microsoft 365 for collaboration is its popularity in the business world. People can send a document to someone outside their organization, knowing it can be opened at the other end.
Google Workspace makes collaboration incredibly simple. Multiple users can work on the same document, presentation or spreadsheet simultaneously, without having to save files, email links or keep track of different versions.
Revisions happen in real-time, giving people the ability to leave comments, make suggestions, accept or reject changes and even revert back to an earlier version if necessary.
Winner: Google Workspace
When it comes to live collaboration, Google Workspace is the winner. Its collaboration tools are powerful, easy to use and allow for real-time revisions without having to edit or save multiple documents.
Microsoft 365 offers live collaboration, but its editing and commenting tools can be difficult to discover and use. They feel tacked-on rather than seamlessly built into the program.
Remote teams will likely find Google Workspace collaboration tools more useful. Businesses that work with people outside their organization will benefit more from the Microsoft 365 suite of collaboration tools.
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer email platforms with similar capabilities, including company-branded email addresses, anti-malware protection, two-step authentication and spam filtering.
Microsoft Outlook is a desktop email client that integrates with a web-based version and mobile app. It has a send limit of 5,000 emails per day and 50 GB of email storage.
Outlook is highly intuitive and has built-in features that promote productivity. The Focused Inbox shows important emails first, and the Clean Up tool simplifies lengthy email threads, so they're easier to read.
Additionally, Outlook provides user-experience customization tools that let people choose how they want to work. They can set up rules to organize incoming emails or reduce visual clutter by closing sidebars.
Outlook even offers seamless email-calendar integration and the ability to cross-integrate calendars. It also integrates with collaboration apps like Skype or Microsoft Teams.
Gmail is optimized for use in the Google Chrome web browser and mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. It has a daily send limit of 2,000 emails and can receive over 86,000 emails a day.
Apart from its intuitive interface, Gmail provides easy-to-use tools for getting work done. It comes equipped with smart sorting categories and automatically assigns priority levels to emails as they filter in.
Users can choose to add tags for searching and organization, but customization options are limited otherwise. There's no easy to set rules or change the number of panels to reduce visual clutter.
Gmail can be accessed offline via Chrome or Safari, but it needs to be set up individually in each browser using a Gmail extension. Currently, the interface only shows the most recent month of email data.
Winner: Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Outlook and Gmail are both powerful email platforms with intuitive user interfaces and built-in features. However, Outlook wins this round for a multitude of reasons.
Outlook offers powerful features, user customization options and seamless calendar integration. It also has a daily send limit of 5,000 emails per day and a desktop email client that's easy to access offline.
Gmail may have a simple, streamlined interface, but it lacks the customization tools that Outlook provides. Also, because it doesn't have a native desktop version, there's no easy way to view emails offline.
5. Cloud Storage
One of the benefits of using a productivity suite like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace is cloud file storage. People can quickly save files to the cloud, access them anywhere, from any device, and easily share them with others.
Microsoft 365 uses OneDrive to store, manage, sync and share files easily. It's integrated into Windows 8 and Windows 10 operating systems, but it also has desktop, web and mobile apps.
OneDrive offers 1 TB of personal cloud storage on all plans, excluding Enterprise accounts with at least five users. Enterprise plans with five or more users come with 1 TB, as well as 10 GB per user, of SharePoint storage.
Each user also has 50 GB of Outlook email storage, which is separate from their 1 TB OneDrive storage limit. Users can also open files directly from OneDrive to Microsoft 365 and other desktop apps without any hassle.
Google Workspace uses Google Drive to store and manage all files. It can be accessed through web browsers but it also downloadable as apps for mobile devices, tablets and desktops.
The basic plan provides each user with 30 GB of cloud storage. Business and enterprise plans with less than five employees come with 1 TB of cloud storage per user, and plans with more than five users get unlimited storage.
Unlike OneDrive, Google Drive storage is allocated with Gmail. While there's less email storage, users can easily find and share files via email and even let others edit and download them without saving multiple documents.
Winner: Google Workspace
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace make cloud file storage and sharing easy, but Google Workspace wins this round simply because of its storage capabilities for business and enterprise plans.
Google Workspace only provides 30 GB of OneDrive cloud storage per user on the basic plan. However, business and enterprise plans with more than five employees have access to unlimited storage per user.
Microsoft 365 offers 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage on all plans. This is a lot of storage, but it's definitely not unlimited. It also has 50 GB of Outlook email storage, which is separate from the OneDrive storage limit.
6. voice and VIDEO COLLABORATION
In the post COVID workplace, voice and video conferencing tools are more popular than ever before. Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace both offer video collaboration tools to help colleagues connect from anywhere.
Microsoft 365 has Microsoft Teams, a chat and video-based collaboration tool that lets users host audio, video and web conferencing with anyone inside or outside their organization, all in a single app.
Microsoft Teams integrates with all Microsoft apps, including Skype, Word, OneDrive, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. It runs through most web browsers, and there are Teams apps for Windows, iOS and Android devices.
In terms of video conferencing, Microsoft Teams can host calls with up to 250 members at one time. It supports video screen sharing, call recording and in-line transcription and translation.
Microsoft Teams offers even more tools intended for collaboration, such as business phone access, search functionality, file sharing, calendar integration, instant messaging and threaded messages.
Formerly known as Hangouts, Google Meet is the video conferencing solution from Google Workspace. It's accessible through most web browsers but is optimized for use in Google Chrome.
Google Meet fully integrates with YouTube and other Google Workspace apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Slides and Sheets. There are also apps for iOS and Android devices.
For video conferencing, Google Meet can manage meetings with up to 250 participants. Google Meet also provides features like screen sharing, call recording and real-time captioning.
Users can also setup Google Meet calls via Google Calendar, meeting links or dial-in phone numbers. It even integrates with Google Voice to make calls and send text messages in the United States and Canada for free.
Winner: Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are very similar in the way they provide voice and video conferencing tools. But, Microsoft Teams offers more chat and message-based features than Google Workspace does.
Microsoft Teams covers everything from instant messaging and file sharing to video collaboration and business phone in the same place, making it a comprehensive, all-in-one collaboration tool for businesses.
Google Meet lacks the full set of features that Teams offers. If you choose Meet for its videoconferencing capabilities, you won't have access to instant messaging or threaded messages to drive company-wide collaboration.
As small businesses switch to cloud platforms, they're more susceptible to cyber threats. Fortunately, both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace use high compliance and security standards to safeguard company data.
Microsoft 365 is designed with cloud security in mind. The platform has over 900 built-in controls to comply with ever-changing industry standards and multiple layers of encryption technologies to protect data of all kinds.
It also has a data loss prevention tool to protect against data theft and leaks. The encrypted AI tools learn about user work habits, detect suspicious activities and flag them if something looks out of place.
In addition, Microsoft 365 lets organizations set up Multiple Factor Authentication for all user passwords. It also uses spam, virus and malware and detection tools to scan all documents, emails and attachments.
Google Workspace is built on top of the Google cloud infrastructure. It uses the same level of security as Google does, including automatic detection of suspicious activity, phishing and hacking.
It also comes with a data leak protection feature to set keywords and block any outgoing communication. Administrators can also enforce two-factor authentication and prevent unauthorized access to any user account.
Plus, Google Workspace has built-in spam, virus and malware protection. This feature scans all documents, emails and attachments to detect and expel malicious malware.
Winner: Microsoft 365
The security features of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 measure up pretty evenly. They both have dynamic and layered security infrastructures designed specifically to protect business owners and their data.
Each platform offers essential security features, including data loss and leak prevention, secure business email and cloud security protection. They also offer built-in spam, virus and unusual activity detection.
That being said, Microsoft 365 may have a slight advantage over Google Workspace. Microsoft 365 has multi-factor authentication, while Google Workspace only offers two-factor authentication.
Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace: Which OFFICE SUITE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are both powerful cloud productivity suites. Each platform offers document creation apps, live collaboration, email capabilities, cloud storage, videoconferencing and security.
While the two suites are very similar, they're also quite different. Microsoft 365 has features and capabilities that Google Workspace doesn't have, and vice-versa.
When it's time to choose between the two, it's important for business leaders to know the tools and features their employees need to be productive at work.
Microsoft 365 is the best choice for businesses that regularly collaborate on documents with users outside their organization. It's also the only one of the two with dedicated desktop versions of each productivity app.
Google Workspace is a better option for organizations that operate remotely and have employees that frequently collaborate on in-house document creation.
Ultimately, your final decision will depend on how you answer each of the following questions:
- Does your company use Microsoft or Google products?
- Are you looking for an office suite with desktop apps or something that only runs in a web browser?
- Do your employees prefer a wide range of features and capabilities or do they want easy-to-use tools?
- Are you willing to change office suites to accommodate your users?
Still have questions about office productivity suites? Schedule an appointment with a Workspace Partner today!