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May 21, 2024 | Updated on: May 24, 2024 | Reading time 13 minutes

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365 comparison

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Vice President of Product

With so many productivity suites available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. But you’ve perhaps narrowed down to two of the most popular: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365. Each platform offers unique features and benefits, making the choice even more difficult. If you’re torn between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 for your business needs, hopefully, this guide helps.

As someone who has been a power user of both, I have my preference but I won’t muddle your evaluation with my opinion. Instead, we’ll give you some ideas on how Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 compare and differ so you can make a more informed decision. 

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are two of the most popular productivity suites used by businesses. Both offer a range of applications and tools to help streamline workflows and enhance collaboration among team members. However, they have their strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered before making a decision.

Choosing between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 is not always a straightforward task. Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages, and what may work for one business may not work for another. In this article, we will compare the key features of both platforms to help you make an informed decision for your business.

Introduction to Google Workspace and Microsoft 365

Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is a cloud-based productivity suite that includes popular tools such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. It allows users to collaborate in real-time, store files in the cloud, and access their work from any device.

Microsoft 365, now known as Microsoft 365, is a subscription-based service that includes Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, along with cloud services such as OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.

Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 offer similar features for communication, collaboration, and productivity, but the choice between the two often comes down to personal preference and specific business needs.

Comparing of pricing and features

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are both popular productivity suites that offer a range of tools for businesses. When comparing pricing and features, Google Workspace is known for its simplicity and collaboration tools. It offers a flexible pricing structure with different plans to choose from, starting at $6 per user per month

Microsoft 365 is preferred by many larger organizations for its robust features and integration with other Microsoft products. It also offers various plans starting at $6 per user per month. Overall, Google Workspace may be more cost-effective for smaller businesses looking for basic collaboration tools, while Microsoft 365 may be a better choice for larger enterprises needing more advanced features and integrations.

Some notable highlights: 

– Google Workspace is priced at $6 per user per month for the Business Starter plan. Same with Microsoft 365 at $6 per user per month for the Business Basic plan.

– Google Workspace includes popular tools like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive, while Microsoft 365 offers Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

– Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 provide cloud storage options, with Google Workspace offering 30GB per user and Microsoft 365 starting at 1TB per user.

How it works with your current infrastructure 

Many organizations may already be aligned with Microsoft from an applications perspective. Microsoft has been the de facto standard for enterprise business productivity applications for decades now with the Office suite of apps. Office 365 holds a huge advantage compared to Google Workspace in terms of on-premises applications.

With Office 365, the Office suite of applications can be installed as a full client installation on end-user devices as well as accessed via the web editor in Office 365. The full-blown copies of Office applications are simply more powerful than the Google Workspace “web only” versions of their applications and editors. Additionally, most enterprise end users are very familiar with Microsoft “Office” applications. The Office 365 apps have the same look and feel which provides both familiarity and a user experience that end users are comfortable with. This can be lacking in the Google Workspace ecosystem.

On the flip side, the Google Workspace apps are very web-centric, streamlined, and efficient. They have designed their apps to take advantage of this centralized model and offer an arguably better experience from a web perspective with their very streamlined apps.

Compatibility with operating systems

Google Workspace offers a couple of advantages from an application standpoint in the realm of their mobile applications and operating system support. Since Google Workspace apps are all web-based, they support all operating systems that can access their platform from a web browser. Historically, this was not the case in the Microsoft 365 world with the fully installed applications only supported on Windows and macOS. However, Microsoft 365 is also available as a web app so you can use it similarly to how Google Workspace works. 

Productivity on mobile devices

Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace both offer robust mobile experiences, allowing users to access their suite of productivity tools from smartphones and tablets. This mobility is crucial for today’s dynamic work environments where professionals often need to work on the go.

Microsoft 365 provides mobile versions of its popular applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive, all of which are optimized for touch interfaces and smaller screens. These apps maintain a high level of functionality, allowing users to create, edit, and share documents directly from their mobile devices. Additionally, the integration with OneDrive ensures that all files are synchronized across devices, providing a seamless transition from desktop to mobile. Microsoft’s mobile apps also support offline access, enabling users to continue working without an internet connection.

Google Workspace offers a similarly seamless mobile experience, with mobile versions of Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive available on both Android and iOS platforms. These apps are designed for efficiency on mobile devices, with features like offline editing and real-time collaboration that allow users to work from anywhere. Google’s mobile apps are deeply integrated with Android, providing an intuitive user experience, but they are also highly functional on iOS devices. The real-time synchronization across devices ensures that users have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips, regardless of the device they are using.

Both platforms emphasize security on mobile devices, implementing features such as two-factor authentication and remote data wiping to protect sensitive information even in a mobile context. This focus on mobile accessibility and security demonstrates Microsoft 365’s and Google Workspace’s commitment to supporting modern, mobile-first work environments.

Collaborative tools in both platforms

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 both offer collaboration tools that can enhance productivity and communication within a business. Google Workspace provides tools like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, which allow team members to work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time.

Microsoft 365 offers similar tools like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but with the added flexibility of desktop applications in addition to web-based ones. While both platforms offer video conferencing tools like Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace is known for its simplicity and ease of use, while Microsoft 365 offers a more robust set of features for larger organizations.

Ultimately, the choice between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 for collaboration tools depends on the specific needs and preferences of the business. It would be good to check with your current staff to see if a majority of them are more familiar with one over the other. 

Email and communication options

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 both offer email and communication options for businesses, but they differ in their specific features. Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is known for its user-friendly interface and collaboration tools such as Google Meet and Google Chat. It also offers Gmail for email communication, which includes features like smart reply and priority inbox.

Microsoft 365 provides Outlook for email communication, which integrates well with other Microsoft Office applications. It also offers Microsoft Teams for instant messaging and video conferencing.

Notable details:

– Google Workspace offers Gmail for email communication, along with Google Meet for video conferencing and Google Chat for instant messaging.

– Microsoft 365 includes Outlook for email, as well as Skype for Business for video conferencing and Microsoft Teams for team collaboration and communication.

– Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 offer the ability to integrate with other communication tools and platforms for a more comprehensive communication solution.

– Users can access their emails and communicate through these platforms on various devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones for flexibility and convenience.

Storage and file-sharing capabilities

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 both offer storage and file-sharing capabilities, but there are some key differences between the two. Google Workspace provides users with cloud storage through Google Drive, which allows for easy access to files from any device with internet access. In addition, Google Workspace allows for collaborative editing of documents in real-time, making it ideal for teams working on projects together.

Microsoft 365 offers OneDrive for Business for cloud storage and file sharing, with the added benefit of integration with Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Users can also easily share files and collaborate on documents within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

Notable details:

– Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 both offer cloud storage options for files w/ the ability to upgrade as your storage needs grow

– Both platforms allow for easy file-sharing and collaboration among team members.

– Google Workspace includes Google Drive for storage and collaboration, while Microsoft 365 offers OneDrive. 

– Both platforms offer various sharing and permissions settings to control who can view, edit, or comment on documents.

Security and privacy considerations

When comparing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 in terms of security and privacy considerations, both platforms offer robust security features to protect user data. Google Workspace provides encryption of data both in transit and at rest, multi-factor authentication, advanced threat detection, and data loss prevention tools.

Microsoft 365 also offers similar security measures such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and advanced threat protection. However, some users may have concerns about Microsoft’s history of data privacy breaches and the potential for data access by government agencies.

Shared security and privacy features:

– Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have built-in security features such as encryption, access controls, and threat detection.

– Both platforms allow for user authentication and authorization settings to control access to sensitive data.

– Organizations can configure settings to comply with data privacy regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA.

– Regular software updates and patches are provided to ensure protection against new security threats.

Integration with other tools and apps

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 both offer a wide range of integrations with other tools and apps to enhance productivity and collaboration. For example, Google Workspace seamlessly integrates with Google Drive, allowing users to easily share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It also integrates with popular communication tools like Slack and Zoom, enabling teams to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Popular integrations for Google Workspace:

– Slack for team communication

– Zoom for video conferencing

– Salesforce for customer relationship management

– Mailchimp for email marketing

Microsoft 365 integrates with Microsoft Teams for seamless communication and collaboration within the platform. It also integrates with OneDrive for file storage and sharing, as well as with popular project management tools like Trello and Asana for enhanced productivity. Both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 offer a plethora of integrations that cater to various business needs, making them versatile and user-friendly platforms.

Popular integrations for Microsoft 365:

– Microsoft Teams for collaboration and communication

– Salesforce for customer relationship management

– Adobe Sign for electronic signatures

– Slack for team communication and file sharing

User experience and ease of use

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are both powerful tools for productivity and collaboration, but they differ in user experience and ease of use. According to data from G2, Google Workspace has a higher overall user rating compared to Microsoft 365, with users praising its intuitive interface, seamless integration with other Google apps, and real-time collaboration features.

Conversely, Microsoft 365 users find its interface to be more complex and less intuitive, with some features being harder to access.

Overall, Google Workspace seems to have an edge in terms of user experience and ease of use, making it a preferred choice for many users.

Backing up your critical data

When comparing the native backup capabilities of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, businesses looking to safeguard their data need to understand the strengths and limitations of each platform. Both solutions offer built-in features aimed at data protection and recovery, but they approach these tasks with different tools and strategies.

Google Workspace provides basic versioning and recovery options across its suite of products like Google Drive, Gmail, and others. For example, Google Drive allows users to restore files to earlier versions within a 30-day window or from the trash as long as the items have not been permanently deleted. Similarly, Gmail lets users recover emails accidentally deleted within a 30-day period.

However, these capabilities are limited to short-term recovery and do not replace a full-fledged backup solution. There is no built-in feature in Google Workspace that enables automatic daily backups of all data across all apps, so for comprehensive protection, third-party backup solutions are often necessary. 

Recommended solution: SpinBackup for Google Workspace 

Microsoft 365 offers similar versioning features, particularly within its OneDrive and SharePoint services, where users can revert to previous versions of documents. Like Google Workspace, these features are helpful for immediate, small-scale data loss prevention but are insufficient for complete data backup and recovery. Microsoft 365’s retention policies can be configured to keep deleted emails and documents for extended periods, depending on the administrative settings.

However, Microsoft also does not provide comprehensive backup in Microsoft 365, emphasizing that their service agreement recommends using third-party backup solutions to ensure data redundancy and protection against data loss incidents.

Recommended solution: SpinBackup for Microsoft 365 

Notable highlights:

1. Microsoft 365 offers more in-depth options for retention and holds, which are crucial for compliance and legal discovery needs. These features are more robust compared to Google Workspace, which has more basic retention settings unless upgraded to higher-tier plans that include Google Vault.

2. Both platforms allow for point-in-time recovery of certain data types, but the granularity and ease of use can vary. Google Workspace’s recovery features are generally more straightforward but less customizable than those in Microsoft 365, where admins can set detailed policies.

3. Both platforms are heavily reliant on third-party backup solutions for comprehensive data protection. This is a critical point for businesses to consider, as native features alone may not meet all organizational backup and compliance requirements.

While both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 provide basic tools to manage and recover data, they fall short of offering complete backup solutions. For businesses with significant data protection needs, exploring third-party backup services that complement these platforms’ capabilities is essential. 

Recommendations for your businesses

When deciding between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 for your business, there are several factors to consider. First, think about the specific needs of your business and the features offered by each platform. Consider factors such as email hosting, storage capacity, collaboration tools, and integration capabilities with other software your business uses.

Additionally, look at pricing plans and consider how they align with your budget and scalability needs. It may also be helpful to get feedback from your employees on their preferences and comfort level with each platform.

Ultimately, choose the option that best meets the unique requirements of your business and will support its growth and productivity.

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Written by

Vice President of Product at Spin.AI

Davit Asatryan is the Vice President of Product at Spin.AI

He is responsible for executing product strategy by overseeing the entire product lifecycle, with a focus on developing cutting-edge solutions to address the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.

He has been with the company for over 5 years and specializes in SaaS Security, helping organizations battle Shadow IT, ransomware, and data leak issues.

Prior to joining Spin.AI, Davit gained experience by working in fintech startups and also received his Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. In his spare time, Davit enjoys traveling, playing soccer and tennis with his friends, and watching sports of any kind.

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