Google Workspace Vs Microsoft 365

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes.

For decades, office productivity software was run on desktop computers and accessible on a single machine. With the advent of the cloud, the fastest growing businesses are migrating to Software-as-a-Service (Saas) applications. Teams can then work and collaborate from anywhere.

In 2006, Google introduced ‘Google Apps’ (now known as Google Workspace) as a cloud-native suite of productivity applications. The platform is now used by over 6 million businesses. 1

Microsoft transitioned to the cloud with the launch of Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) in 2011.

On initial inspection, both services seem quite similar. However, there are some fundamental differences – both in design and functionality. In this article, we will highlight some key reasons why we believe Google Workspace is the best option for businesses looking maximise the productivity of their teams.

Service Comparison

The table below provides a comparison of the key services on each platform

FunctionMicrosoft 365Google Workspace
File StorageOneDrive/SharepointDrive
Video ConferencingTeamsMeet
Word processingWordDocs

Why is Google Workspace the best option for the modern workforce?

1. Simpler pricing plans & significant cost savings

In short, Microsoft’s pricing plans are complex with services differing wildly between the plans. Additionally, users can only access the desktop versions of the apps on 5 devices.

In contrast, Google offers just four subscription plans: Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus and Enterprise. Importantly, all plans include the full suite of web apps and users can access their apps on an unlimited number of devices.

The lower price points of Google Workspace can lead to significant cost savings for organisations with growing teams.

Save more with Chromebooks
Businesses can save even more by adopting Chromebooks – a line of laptops that run on the Linux-based Chrome OS. By storing nearly all applications and data on the cloud, Chromebooks are popular with frontline and mobile employees. Chromebooks can save organisations up to $US482 per device annually from reduced downtime, lower hardware and licensing costs and importantly, fewer security breaches. 2
2. Superior collaboration features

Google Workspace facilitates seamless collaboration. According to Google’s iinternal research, 76% of the time that businesses spend working in Google Docs is spent on collaborative work. 3

Real-time collaboration vs clunky co-authoring

Microsoft’s co-authoring function is nowhere near as seamless as Google’s real-time collaboration capabilities.

In Microsoft 365, if users wish to work on a file together, ‘co-authors’ must be invited to collaborate (similar to sharing a file in Google Workspace). However, the sharing interface varies wildly between OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online or personal OneDrive.

Things get even trickier when the co-authoring invite is sent. The link in the email opens the web-app version of the file (rather than the desktop version). However, Office for the web has less functionality than the desktop apps, which often leads to formatting conflicts and user frustration.

Microsoft 365 Web Apps offer limited functionality

Microsoft 365 evolved from desktop software. While Microsoft 365 apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) can be accessed via web browser, their functionality is limited.

Examples include:

  • Word for the web does not support the creation of complex text documents with formatting such as tables of contents, bibliography, cover pages or watermarks.
  • Excel for the web does not support macros or data validation or even advanced chart features.
  • In PowerPoint for the web, users can’t add headers or footers, gradients or even insert slide numbers or insert an Excel chart.

These weaknesses can lead to significant formatting conflicts when people collaborate on documents via different methods (e.g. web-app and desktop).

In comparison, Google Workspace is completely cloud-native. All apps have been developed from the very beginning to be used in a web browser. This enhances the ability of teams to collaborate and eliminates employee frustrations from formatting conflicts!

It’s worth noting also that with Microsoft 365, it’s possible that different users are working with different versions of the product. When collaborating on the same document, this can easily lead to integration problems.

With Google Workspace, this problem does not occur as all users are always on using the same version of the applications.

3. Reduced security risks and support costs

Microsoft 365 desktop apps require administrators to manually install updates and security patches. It can be difficult for an organisation to ensure all devices are kept up to date, particularly with more people working remotely. Google Workspace eliminates these risks and the IT support costs to manage them. No manual updates are required.

Google Workspace offers a unified app management experience that enables administrators to manage both web and mobile apps in a single portal.

4. More efficient remote working

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in remote working across the world. It is expected that this trend will continue even after the pandemic is over.

Google Workspace enables remote employees to work efficiently and collaborate easily from any location and device. In fact, a survey conducted by Quadrant Strategies found that 60% of Google Workspace users strongly agree that their team works very well together, compared to only 49% of Microsoft 365 users.

Video Conferencing

A key requirement of remote working is a universal video conferencing app. Microsoft 365 has Teams, while Google Workspace has Meet. PCMag is their review of Teams noted that the interface can be tricky to navigate and that it is “only convenient to use in a Microsoft-centric environment.” 4. This can present issues when not all meeting participants use Microsoft.

Google Meet on the other hand can easily be used by anyone by simply clicking on a link. No software download is required.

These ease of use often leads to greater use of video conferencing by employees. In fact, Quadrant Strategies found that 51% percent of Google Workspace users say they use video calls (rather than phone calls) for remote meetings, as opposed to only 32% of Microsoft 365 users.

Working remotely

Google Workspace works on any web browser – regardless of operating system – and files can be collaborated on from any device. In contrast, Microsoft 365 requires that licensed applications be installed on individual devices. Consequently, employees using a device with the apps installed will not be able to work. The web apps also have reduced functionality. Google Workspace on the other hand offers full functionality across all devices.

5. Google Workspace works with Microsoft Office files

While Google Workspace is the preferred choice for over 6 million businesses around the world, many people still use Microsoft files. No problem! Google Workspace offers Office editing, which enables users to directly edit, comment and collaborate on Office files using Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Changes will be saved automatically to the file in Office format, so there is no need to convert Office files. You can even edit Office files directly from a Gmail attachment, without having to save the document in Drive.

In addition, Workspace offers simple to use plugins for mixed Google/Microsoft teams to coordinate calendars and schedule meetings.

So, let JD Stride help your organisation work more effectively with a move to Google Workspace. Our cloud architects can plan, implement and support a seamless migration – with no downtime or loss of data.

Contact us to speak to a certified Google Workspace Specialist today.

Arrange Free Consultation