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Office 365 Versus Google Apps for Business

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The choice of selecting a perfect productive suite for one’s organization is a critical decision that an IT Manager or a CIO has to make. And when it comes to choosing a cloud-based productivity suite, the choice gets all the more difficult. This is because one has to choose amongst the two most gigantic technologies vying for your industry-Google Apps For Business & Office 365.

A Quick Peek In The Past Of Google Apps & Office 365

Google Apps For Business was originally introduced as Google Apps in the year 2006. When it was released, the cloud-based services were not so prominent and were still in its primitive stage. Although despite of the low popularity of cloud services, Google Apps pressed on and transformed into the technology that we know today. Google Apps For Business includes many application in its toolbox that are widely used today. On the top is Gmail, followed by Hangouts, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Docs, Slides and many more.

On the other side of the fence exists Office 365. In spite of the fact that most of the companies were deploying cloud services to enhance their business, Microsoft still doubted the cloud services. However, after the introduction of cloud services from other brands, Microsoft finally came into action and introduced its own cloud service-Office 365 in the year 2011. It offers the traditional desktop-based applications such as MS Word, Excel and many others as hosted services.

Comparison Between Office 365 And Google Apps For Business

In this write-up, we are going to analyze and compare both these technology titans on different criteria to enable our readers to get an unbiased review of both the applications. After going through the comparison, we hope that you will be able to select the cloud suite that best suits your business needs.

Emailing & Calendaring

Some people love the simplicity that Gmail offers while others prefer MS Outlook’s familiarity. The desktop version of Outlook 2013 as well as its webmail version is available in almost all the plans of Office 365. The option of taking notes in a meeting with the help of OneNote is an added advantage of Outlook. These notes, later on can be associated permanently with the other events. Other options such as creating rules to automatically move the messages in the selected folders is one of the best features that Outlook has to offer.

On the other hand, the ease of usage and speed are the biggest benefits of using Google Apps. Gmail is one of the strongest and the only cloud email client that is very easy to use. It enables the users to search within the large count of emails and gives the provision to create email archives. It is the best application that Google Apps offers in terms of emailing and calendaring. There are several external plug-ins that run successfully with Gmail and it is similar across all the devices, be it laptops, smartphones or your PC.

Creation of Spreadsheets

MS Excel is mostly the first choice and the industry standard for creating spreadsheets. Due to the different features provided, it remains to be the top choice of industries. Provision of Excel spreadsheets in Office 365 package has further strengthened it. Although it does not have the same versions as in desktop based MS Excel, but it does not affect the spreadsheets formatting in absence of the features.

In terms of creating spreadsheets, Google Sheets remains way behind Office 365 spreadsheets. You can easily work with the basics like the auto-suggest feature. What it lacks is the powerful tools such as Pivot table. Moreover, integration of Google Sheets with third-party tools does not exist. The organization using Google Sheets for creating spreadsheets might learn to work without high-level tools but this will come at the cost of their efficiency.

Word Processing

When it comes to choose between Google Apps for Business and Office 365 based on Word processing that needs to be done in an organization, the authorities should decide the level of documentation their organization needs.
Google Docs works fine with the basic tasks that need to be done in documentation. You can easily create business letters and write reports with the assistance of the attractive fonts. The in-line spellcheck feature will prove to be helpful for you. You can insert photos in your documents too.

What Google Docs does not offer is the creation of professional presentations that are used for organization brochures and material for marketing purpose of your company. You can get this provision in Office 365. The online MS Word allows multiple users to make changes on a common document at the same time.

Making Presentations

MS PowerPoint gives a cutting edge to your business presentations with its vast collection of templates. You can easily insert photos and videos in attractive frames and select from several slide layouts and animations. You can access pen tools with which enable you to use your mouse as the pointer, mark areas around the slides and a highlighter to highlight important keynotes.

On the other hand, Google Slides offer around 20 slide templates, which are comparatively old-fashioned as compared to PowerPoint templates. When it comes to pen tools for making your presentation more interactive, Google Slides offer pop-up windows that display thumbnails of next slides and speaker notes. Therefore, with Google slides you will not get the quality presentations that you desire.

Storage Offered

Office 365 offers 1 TB data, irrespective of the plan chosen. This includes 50 GB of cloud storage space for Outlook and 25 GB in SkyDrive to its every user. Both SkyDrive and Drive integrate with products and offer online document readers that enable the users to view all documents in the browser itself.

Google Apps For Business offers a storage space of 30 GB for free to its users. This space is shared amongst Gmail, Google Photos and Google Drive. In case the users reach the storage limit, additional storage license can be purchased.

Privacy Policies

The privacy policies of both these services can prove to be a turning point in the choice you make. You can read and decide which one meets your privacy requirements.

Privacy policy of Microsoft states that they will not scan or provide your data to any third parties.
On the other hand, Google states that the information collected by them may be used for advertisement purposes only.

Pricing & Versions

The entry price for Office 365 is $5 per user per month, accompanied with a commitment of 1 year.
For Google Apps For Business the price is same, i.e. $5 per user per month or $50 per year (taxes included).

The Verdict

There are a plethora of other features in Google Apps For Business and Office 365 that may be different or similar to each other. Both their features change from time to time, as per the up gradations made by their vendors in order to improve their services. Therefore, it would not be fair to recommend one suite over the other based on some features. One-size-fits-all does not apply to both these applications and since every organization has different business needs, they can be fulfilled by either Google Apps For Business or Office 365.
 
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Expert Comment

by:Allen Falcon
This article is disappointing, as it is inaccurate.  You do have advanced functions, such as pivot tables in Google Sheets.  

Your statements about word processing are off as well, as you are comparing Google Docs to Word and Publisher.  True, Google Apps does not include a Publisher equivalent, but apps like LucidPress let you do this for free (or with advanced features for a small fee).

With Outlook versus Gmail, both services have rules (they are Filters in Gmail) and you can use Google Docs to take notes and attach them to meetings (like OneNote).

SkyDrive has been replaced by OneDrive for Business, and you can license Google Apps with Unlimited Storage.

Most disturbing, is your statement about Privacy is absolutely wrong and false.  Google for Work has a privacy policy that includes no data scanning for advertisements.  You used the terms of service for the free, Gmail server, and not Google for Work (or for Education) in your comparison.

As a cloud solutions provider, we offer both Office 365 and Google Apps, depending on which solution best meets the needs of our customers.  Each solution has it's advantages (Google Apps has better mobile integration, for example, and Office 365 includes Delve).  Businesses need an accurate comparison of features and capabilities, which this article lacks.
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