Sr. Content Marketing Manager
It's a question on many executives’ minds when searching for a cloud-based productivity suite.
Both tech giants aim to be your one-stop shop for productivity and collaboration, but which is a better option for your organization?
The basics: Google Workspace and Office 365
In case you aren’t already familiar with both platforms, let’s take a moment to cover the basics.
What is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is a web-based software that combines all of Google's productivity products under one integrated suite. Google Workspace prioritizes collaboration and aims to make jumping between applications seamless.
Google Workspace includes all of Google's popular tools, including Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Sheets and Docs.
What is Microsoft Office 365?
Microsoft Office 365 (now known as Microsoft 365) is a desktop-based software that brings together Microsoft's flagship applications and productivity tools to provide businesses with the resources they need to get the job done.
Microsoft 365 includes all of Microsoft's most popular tools, including Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
At first glance, the biggest difference between the two is their native environment. Google Workspace is browser-centric and is native to the web, whereas Microsoft 365 is installed on desktops via click-to-run packages.
Sure, both can operate in the other environment: Workspace has an offline option, and Microsoft 365 has an online option. But neither are as powerful in their non-native state.
This initial difference isn't the only comparison point between the two suites. So, let’s look at Google Workspace vs. Office 365 in a true head-to-head comparison.
The head-to-head: Google Workspace vs. Office 365
We’ll cover the similarities in these solutions first before we dive into the differences.
Both products are cloud-based and aim to offer a one-stop-shop for all your business's productivity needs. Their goal is to help you complete as many tasks as possible in one place without having to rely on other applications.
At face value, they're two big-name players with a long history of meeting customers’ needs. Plus, their security features are nearly 1:1 and both solutions also offer a healthy amount of cloud storage.
Here's a breakdown of how Google Workspace and Office 365 compare on several fronts.
(Just a note that we're comparing the features of Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise. Both Google and Microsoft offer versions of their products for individuals and families, but they don’t include the support or features businesses need.)
Feature and application comparison
Both services offer similar core applications, including:
- a word processor
- presentation application
- contacts program
- email platform
They also both provide communication features, like messaging, note-taking software and video conferencing.
On the surface, these suites are relatively comparable—but many people have a preference. Let’s take email, for example. Google Workspace offers Gmail, and Microsoft 365 offers Outlook. And lots of people have pretty strong opinions on the Gmail vs. Outlook debate.
The decision really comes down to what your company needs to accomplish.
Take word processing: With Microsoft Word versus Google Docs, Microsoft Word offers numerous creation and editing features. Google Docs offers many of the same core features but prioritizes document collaboration above all else.
If you look through the core features of the suite’s respective products, that's a similar theme. Microsoft 365 offers products that are often feature-rich and have maximized capabilities, whereas Google's interface is clean, simple and focuses on core features and collaboration.
Google's mission with Workspace is to create an ecosystem of applications that work together seamlessly and effortlessly. Users can work in real time on a document, sheet or presentation without worrying about syncing documents. They can also easily link to other applications and @mention other users effortlessly.
Microsoft also offers some collaboration features, but it's much harder to collaborate, and the interface makes it clear that collaboration wasn’t part of the initial design for the system.
Both suites are subscription based and charge businesses a per-person fee each month. But the similarities in price end there.
Google Workspace offers four different pricing plans to keep things simple.
- Business Starter: $6 per user, per month
- Business Standard: $12 per user, per month
- Business Plus: $18 per user, per month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
The main differences between Google’s plans relate to storage (from 30G – unlimited) and the number of concurrent video attendants (100 – 250), plus a few other small upgrades between plans.
Microsoft 365's pricing is a little harder to pin down. They have several different pricing tiers for businesses and enterprises.
- Microsoft Business Basic: $5.00 per user, per month
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50 per user, per month
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium: $20 per user, per month
- Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise: $12 per user, per month
- Office 365 E1: $8 per user, per month
- Office 365 E3: $20 per user, per month
- Office 365 E5: $35 per user, per month
- Microsoft 365 E3: $32 per user, per month
- Microsoft 365 E5: $57 per user, per month
Microsoft also has plans that just offer the apps, and they have plans separated by industry type, including government, education, nonprofit and more. If you can't find a plan that matches your needs, you can mix and match.
It's a little dizzying, especially because the differences from plan to plan can be hard to decipher. It might take some time to sift through the options and make sure you're getting everything you're expecting to get with Microsoft 365.
In short, Microsoft 365's plans range from $5 – $57 per person per month. Comparatively, Google Workspace plans range from $6 – $18 or custom enterprise pricing.
Microsoft 365 generally costs more than Google Workspace because they offer desktop apps, which increase the base monthly price by around $8 per subscriber per month.
The pros and cons
Let's drill down on each service’s main advantages and disadvantages to make the decision even easier for you.
- Made for collaboration
- Straightforward pricing
- Features aren’t as robust as Microsoft’s
- Lower storage options on lower-tier plans
Even though many people are already familiar with the Microsoft suite, Google is easier to learn and is more intuitive. In contrast, Microsoft 365’s apps and functionality will take a bit of learning for the uninitiated.
In other words, the applications weren't designed to work together in a seamless ecosystem. They were built separately and don't work together as efficiently as Google Workspace does.
- Robust application functionality
- Likely familiarity with the suite
- Plan customization
- Desktop applications available
- Steep learning curve
- Requires local installation
- Not built for collaboration
People have been using Microsoft products for a long time, and that familiarity makes Microsoft 365 the easy choice for many companies. While their pricing and plan options can be overwhelming, some people like the option to customize their plans on this more granular level.
The most significant advantage to Office 365's platform is its desktop applications. Many companies still only use Microsoft, so it's helpful to be able to save, edit, and work in a file's native format. But then again, you can easily download Google Workspace apps into Microsoft format like Word, Excel or PowerPoint.
The winner: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365
So, who wins in a Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365 showdown? It probably boils down to a matter of personal preference.
But from an innovation, productivity and collaboration standpoint, Google Workspace comes out on top in every category.
In fact, Google Workspace users save an average of 171 hours each year and experience a 331% ROI and a 1.5% increase in revenue just from using the suite.
If you're looking for a productivity powerhouse that prioritizes collaboration and allows your team to work together efficiently and seamlessly, Google Workspaces is the clear winner. Even when you compare Microsoft Teams vs. Google Workspace, Google’s communication applications still come out on top.
Google Workspace also integrates with third-party applications with ease, including our relationship-centric CRM, Copper. Copper CRM and Google Workspace is the collaboration dream team, as both programs prioritize communication and collaboration.
Copper CRM is the only CRM listed on Google's recommended applications, and it was built to integrate with Google Workspace with ease. Try Copper free for 14 days.