Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365

Users will love the familiarity of Google Workspace and the simplicity of its apps. Power users may be more inclined to go for the advanced features of Microsoft 365, especially those in the enterprise. Microsoft 365’s tools have been an office stalwart for a long time, but Google is rapidly catching up. 

catherine heath

March 9, 2023

11 mins read

Communication and productivity tools are essential for businesses who want to get work done and work collaboratively. That’s why you’ll want to consider a comparison between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, both of which offer a comparable range of tools aimed at all sizes of businesses. 

Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365) is a staple of modern businesses and you’d be hard pushed to find someone who isn’t familiar with Microsoft Word or Outlook. However, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) has evolved as a creditable competitor for Microsoft 365 which is why many businesses will want to consider its offering. 

Many companies will find Google Workspace appealing because lots of their users will be familiar with the interface from personal use. Google Workspace has also been designed to work in the cloud, encouraging more collaboration options. 

Both Google Workspace and Microsoft have different pros and cons and will be suitable for businesses depending on their needs.  It’s time for Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 – let’s put them head to head.

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Why does your business need an office suite?

Many businesses, especially smaller ones, may be wondering why they need an office suite. Well, the answer is that many offices nowadays are virtual and remote, and they require the appropriate software to keep the lights on. Even companies who work from a single site still require platforms that help their teams communicate and work together on documents. 

Monitor your team’s activity

When team members are working using the office suite, administrators can have an overview of everyone’s activity. It’s simple to add or remove members from your workspace, allowing you to manage access centrally. Every office needs an online equivalent so the business can track the productivity of its team members. 

Communicate reliably

Teams need a way to communicate with one another, whether that’s through chat, email, or video conferencing. Office suites offer a range of tools that allow teams to stay in contact, no matter where they are in the world. Communication tools are a staple of modern businesses, when face-to-face interaction is on the decline. 

Cloud storage and access

Instead of storing your files locally, office suites allow you to store your documents in the cloud which is much more secure. No matter what happens to your device, you will always have access to your files. Employees can access their files from anywhere, negating the need to travel to an office. 

Work from anywhere

Especially since the pandemic, many businesses are making the move towards remote working. Employees can log onto their office suite from anywhere, without being tied to a particular device or location. Your office suite can require authentication so you can prevent unauthorized access to your programs. 

Collaborate on documents

One of the primary benefits of apps like Google Docs or Microsoft Word is you can use them to collaborate on documents in real-time with colleagues. Document-sharing is a primary activity for many businesses which is why they choose office suites. Gone are the days of sending files back and forth over email, struggling to keep track of changes and updates. 

Integrated apps

Instead of signing up for lots of different tools, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer integrated suites of software that work well together. You have the benefit of paying one subscription fee and then having access to a range of software that a typical business needs. These tools are also set up to communicate with one another, making workflows even more seamless. 

What is Google Workspace? 

Google Workspace is a suite of office productivity tools including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and more. While every Google user has access to an individual Google Workspace, Google also offers business plans for users requiring more features and functionality than on the free plan. 

When using one of Google Workspace’s apps, you can benefit from powerful integrations between each Google product. For example, when composing an email in Gmail, you can easily insert a link to a file from Google Drive to collaborate on documents. In Google Docs, you can tag other users in your files and write comments to make document review a breeze. 

Whether you want to send an email, manage your calendar, or store a file, you can do it all within Google Workspace. 

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is very similar to Google Workspace except that it is Microsoft’s own version of workplace tools. Many business users will likely be familiar with products like Microsoft Word or Excel, making this a popular choice for an office suite. Microsoft offers both a web-based version and desktop version of most of its apps, enabling a hybrid of online and offline working. 

Microsoft has been trusted for many years for its range of office tools, and continues to be top choice for many businesses. In recent times, Google Workspace has emerged to rival Microsoft 365, making it a viable alternative for teams looking to collaborate and communicate. 

If you’re looking for powerful document editing or advanced email management, then you need go no further than Microsoft Word or Outlook. 

Which is better – Google Workspace or Microsoft 365?

It’s hard to say which is better, Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. They certainly have different features to offer, although many of their products are comparable. 

Here’s a comparison of the tools offered by Google Workspace and Microsoft 365: 

  • Google Sheets = Microsoft Excel (spreadsheets)
  • Gmail = Microsoft Outlook (email)
  • Google Slides = Microsoft Powerpoint (presentations)
  • Google Sites = Microsoft SharePoint (websites)
  • Google Meet = Microsoft Teams (conference calling / chat messaging)
  • Google Spaces = Yammer (internal social networking / intranet)
  • Google Keep = Microsoft OneNote (note-taking)
  • Google Drive = Microsoft OneDrive (storage and file-sharing)

Microsoft 365 offers more advanced functionality than Google Workspace, especially with its desktop versions of popular apps. However, many users may be more than satisfied with Google Workspace, unless their work involves working highly intensively on spreadsheets in which case Microsoft 365 may be a better choice. 

Google Workspace is fundamentally aimed at teams who want to collaborate in the cloud. If collaboration is your goal, then you’ll want to seriously consider Workspace rather than Microsoft 365. Collaborating on documents is easy to learn for users of Google Workspace and its features are simple and intuitive.  

If you’re looking for feature-rich solutions to enhance your productivity, then Microsoft 365 might be the better choice. Ultimately, Microsoft 365 is more sophisticated than Google Workspace when it comes to its office productivity suite. And it’s important to note that Google Workspace has nothing to rival Microsoft Teams when it comes to communication.

Ultimately, neither Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 is “better” – its suitability will be highly dependent on your needs.  

What is the difference between Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace?

The primary difference between Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace is that one is offered by Microsoft and one is offered by Google. Google Workspace has been developed with collaboration in mind, while Microsoft 365 was originally intended for solo working. Microsoft evolved its product suite to make it more comparable with Google Workspace, although you still have the ability to work powerfully from the desktop. 

Businesses who are working primarily with Microsoft Office files will want to seriously consider Microsoft 365. While Google Workspace can handle Office files reasonably well, some of the formatting will occasionally be lost which is not appropriate if you work with Office files a lot. 

The main difference between the two is that Google Workspace was launched primarily in the cloud while the SaaS version of Microsoft 365 has been developed as an afterthought to keep pace with demand. Businesses who want to access the full features of Microsoft 365 will want to access the desktop apps version. 

The difference between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 is that the latter offers more flexibility in how you access its tools. 

What are the advantages of Google Workspace?

The advantages of Google Workspace is that many users will be familiar with Google’s suite of tools. Transitioning from personal use to office use is a small step, requiring a very short learning curve for new users. Even if users haven’t been introduced to Google Workspace before, the user interface is very simple and doesn’t overwhelm users with too many features. 

As a result, Google Workspace is much simpler to use than Microsoft 365 and pares the options down to the essentials. Google Workspace was designed for the cloud, making it incredibly easy to encourage employees to share and collaborate on documents. Since it is collaboration-first, Google Workspace empowers users to work together seamlessly, making it perfect for team-based activities that require a shared workspace. 

There is no better tool for real-time document editing than Google Docs – multiple users can make edits and changes to a document which constantly refreshes to show the latest version. Gone are the days of sending documents back and forth over email with track changes. 

Gmail is also a simple and yet powerful email tool. It boasts AI capabilities that can predict what you’re going to type, and surfaces important email chains so you won’t miss anything. It’s easy to organize emails in Gmail with labels – declutter your inbox in seconds to achieve higher levels of productivity. 

So there are numerous advantages of Google Workspace, not least because Gmail also integrates with our very own customer support tool, Keeping. 

Pricing — how do Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 compare?

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have some comparable pricing plans, while Microsoft 365 offers some more options for the enterprise. 

Google Workspace plans

  • Business Starter – $6 per user per month
  • Business Standard – $12 per user per month
  • Business Plus – $18 per user per month
  • Enterprise – Contact sales for pricing

Microsoft 365 plans

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic – $6 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business – $8.25 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard – $12.50 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business  Premium – $22 per user per month

The pricing of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 is fairly similar, but especially when you consider the amount of features available Microsoft 365 does seem to offer better value for money. The plan prices increase at a slower pace than the prices for Google Workspace, making Microsoft 365 more affordable for smaller businesses. Microsoft 365 also offers a lot more storage for the same price as Google Workspace plans. 

Microsoft 365 also has a range of enterprise plans for you to consider if your organization is on the larger side. The advantage of these plans is that there is no limit to the number of users you can include, whereas the other plans are limited to 300 users. If you are an enterprise company, you may prefer to consider the options presented by Microsoft 365 which is more accommodating of larger teams. 

You can access the basic versions of Workspace and 365 from just $6 per user per month. 

Pros and cons of Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace

The advantage of using Microsoft 365 is you have access to the desktop version of the classic office apps such as Outlook, Excel, and Word. Many businesses still require their teams to work offline on documents and as such you might want to have the desktop apps available as well as their cloud counterpart. It’s also fair to say that the Microsoft 365 desktop versions are more feature-rich than the cloud version. 

With Google Workspace, there is very little offline functionality available, apart from the mobile app versions of tools like Gmail, Google Docs and Google Sheets. To use these Google Workspace apps offline, you have to set permissions for specific documents to be made available offline which will then sync the next time you have an internet connection. 

Some might prefer Microsoft 365 because the apps can be used without an internet connection. If your internet goes down, then your access to Google Workspace is really very limited. This can severely hamper productivity if you have an unstable connection. 

Google Workspace is a good choice if you have reliable access to the internet and don’t need to work on the desktop. 

Google Workspace highlights

Google Workspace offers several highlights that makes this an excellent choice for teams of all sizes. 

User-friendly calendar

You’d be hard-pressed to find a calendar that works better than Google Calendar. It’s highly intuitive, with the ability to toggle between different views to give you an overview of your upcoming schedule. You can assign yourself tasks and book meetings, all managed within Google Calendar. You can share access to your calendar or access someone else’s, making it easy to coordinate appointments. 

Always available 

Because Google Workspace is powered by Google, you never have to worry about system downtime. You know your work is always going to be saved and there is very little risk of loss of data. Every document you create is automatically synced in the cloud and continually saved in the background without you having to click anything. We’ve been spoiled by the always available nature of Google Workspace. 

Unparallelled user experience

Every Google product has a similar, intuitive user experience that will enable your team to get up and running right away. Anyone with a Google account will be used to the Google apps and be able to use them to enhance productivity. The user interface is uncluttered and simple, matching the experience that users have come to expect from personal apps. Google Workspace beats Microsoft 365 when it comes to UI and user-friendliness. 

Open more than one workspace

It’s highly likely that most Google Workspace users will have a personal and professional account, at the very least. Google Workspace makes it easy to toggle between multiple email addresses in the system so there are no hurdles when you want to switch profiles. So if you’re logged into your professional Google Workspace but you want to check email on your personal account, you can do so with the click of a button. 

Microsoft 365 highlights

Now we’ve looked at the Google Workspace highlights, that’s not to say Microsoft 365 doesn’t have some great features. 

Developed for the enterprise

If you’re an enterprise business looking for office suite software, you couldn’t make a better choice than Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365’s capabilities are especially well-suited for the enterprise, particularly its tools such as SharePoint and OneDrive. You can create powerful intranets for your team to collaborate and share information, with the ability to take advantage of advanced search so you never lose your documents again. 

Outstanding document production

If you want to create documents, then Microsoft’s suite of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are unparalleled. They may have a steeper learning curve than Google Docs or Sheets, but they offer tremendous features for either working with text or data, and many high-quality templates that users can use to overcome the blank page. You can access your documents from anywhere with its cloud-based availability. 

Readily available support

Microsoft 365 offers better customer support options than Google Workspace, with phone and online support available 24/7 on all of their plans. Microsoft offers technical and troubleshooting services for users who run into problems, and are currently offering free one-on-one consulting services for customers who want to decide if the 365 platform is right for them. 

Effective collaboration and communication

Microsoft 365 is a top choice if your team wants to communicate and collaborate with colleagues. Microsoft Teams is their flagship product that rivals tools like Slack or Google Meet. You can communicate with individuals inside and outside your organization, taking advantage of video conferencing, team chat and file-sharing, which also works when using Microsoft’s other applications such as Word. 

Top Google Workspace App Integrations

  • Keeping – we’ve developed our very own Keeping to integrate with Gmail, which is a customer support tool for managing your emails. Keeping helps you take your customer service to the next level with the ability to assign emails to team members, assign a ticket status, and automation rules to govern some of the management of your emails. 
  • Salesmate – this is a CRM for Google Workspace that takes advantage of integrations with all your favorite apps. 
  • Asana – a task management tool that enables you to keep track of your work in conjunction with Google Workspace. 
  • DocuSign – a digital approval tool that enables users to request esignatures through Google Drive or Google Docs. 

When to use Google Workspace

So you’re probably wondering when is the best time to use Google Workspace for business? Companies who want to collaborate on their documents such as spreadsheets and word files should definitely consider Google Workspace, which has been specifically designed with teamwork in mind. It’s easy for whole teams of users to work together on documents and keep track of different versions and history. 

If you want to work with simple apps that don’t require much learning curve, Google Workspace is your best bet. They may lack some of the features that are available with Microsoft, especially Outlook, Word and Excel, but make up for it with ease of use and accessibility. 

Google Workspace is great for teams who want to accelerate their pace of work and use tools that are as flexible as they are. 

When to use Microsoft 365

If you’re looking for more advanced features and more granular controls, then Microsoft 365 is a better bet than Google Workspace. It’s still possible to collaborate effectively in Microsoft 365, but it’s not as simple or intuitive as Google Workspace. What Microsoft 365 lacks in collaboration tools it makes up for with powerful apps which enable you to do almost anything. 

With Microsoft 365, you get access to a robust environment with SharePoint that enables even very large teams to work together. Microsoft Teams is also a full-featured communication platform that brings teams closer together, no matter the size. For a comparable price to Google Workspace, you get access to a range of features that significantly enhance productivity. 

Microsoft 365 also offers desktop apps that enable you to work offline, so choose this option if this is something your business is interested in. 

Wrapping up

Whichever you choose, Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are both excellent options for business. When it comes to the apps you have available on each platform, both offer an equivalent so you’re never missing out. Teams who are interested in file-sharing, file storage, communication and document creation will want to seriously consider either Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, depending on their needs. 

Users will love the familiarity of Google Workspace and the simplicity of its apps. Power users may be more inclined to go for the advanced features of Microsoft 365, especially those in the enterprise. Microsoft 365’s tools have been an office stalwart for a very long time but Google is rapidly catching up. 

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are both highly suitable for teams who are looking for an office suite. 

catherine heath

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at https://awaywithwords.co.

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