Google Workspace and Office 365 (now a part of Microsoft 365) are productivity suites that offer a variety of tools for businesses and individuals to utilize. You’ll find tools for document and spreadsheet creation, emailing, collaboration, and more within both.
Within Google Workspace, you’ll find familiar names like Gmail, Drive, Docs, and Calendar. But businesses can also leverage unique offerings, such as Jamboard for whiteboard brainstorming and collaboration and the Apps Script and AppSheet platforms for building custom solutions with little need for coding.
Microsoft 365, on the other hand, includes all the applications that once came as a part of Microsoft Office—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook—plus a slew of other useful platforms. Tap into Microsoft Teams for communication and collaboration, Microsoft Bookings to take and schedule appointments, and Microsoft SharePoint to create a cloud-based intranet for your organization or project.
Google Workspace and Office 365 Compared to the Best Office Suites Software
We’ve both used and researched a lot of productivity tools here at Crazy Egg. We’ve even put together a list of the top office suite software. Read that post to get the full view of the product category, or check out or cream of that crop below, our Golden Eggs:
Google Workspace Compared to Office 365
These two office software suites skew pretty closely to one another in terms of what you can do on each platform and what tools each offers. Let’s take a closer look at the key features of each productivity suite to see how they stack up against each other.
Google Workspace Highlights
Google Workspace is the platform that took work away from the desktop and into the cloud. Share, edit, and access your documents from any device with an internet connection.
Here’s the full rundown of the tools that come on every Workspace plan:
Google’s search functionality is unrivaled, so finding the right document, file, message, or record is always quick and easy. And with their recent integration of AI features, like Smart Compose in Gmail and Explore in Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can expect plenty of features that make work easier and faster.
Whether you run a single-person business or a multinational corporation, Google Workspace has the tools you need to get work done.
Office 365 Highlights
Since Office 365 became Microsoft 365, it’s expanded beyond the household-name apps of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. They’re still the gold standard in word processing and building spreadsheets and presentations, while Outlook is still one of the best email clients available.
The first big addition is OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud-based storage. You can access your files from any device with an internet connection, and Microsoft 365’s entry-level plan provides a generous 1 TB of cloud storage space.
Beyond those big names, here are the other tools you get in every Microsoft 365 package:
Teams and SharePoint are crucial for teamwork and internal collaboration. The former is a comprehensive communication platform that includes video and voice calls, team chat, meetings, and more. SharePoint takes that to the next level, providing a secure intranet for sharing files and resources and working together on projects and development.
Higher-tier plans of Microsoft 365 include additional tools, such as Access, Publisher, and Intune.
Google Workspace vs. Office 365: Pros and Cons
With all the similarities between these two office software suites, it can be difficult to tell at a glance which one is better for your business. To help with that, let’s run through each one’s virtues and shortcomings to lay all the pros and cons on the table.
Where Google Workspace Shines
AI features: Google is constantly cutting-edge smart features into its productivity suite to make work easier and faster. Recent additions include Smart Compose in Gmail—which uses machine learning to suggest the next words to write as you type out an email—and Explore in Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which lets you search and source information from your cloud storage and the web without leaving the document you’re working on.
Manage multiple workspaces: If you have one email address linked to your job and another linked to a side hustle business, you can easily manage both from the Gmail interface without leaving the application. This ability to switch profiles applies to many of the tools in Google Workspace, saving a lot of time and frustration when you’re handling messages, files, or tasks for multiple accounts (whether personal and professional or separate and distinct work accounts) simultaneously.
Consistent user experience: With so many people using it regardless of their profession, Google Workspace sports one of the most familiar and easy-to-use platforms in the world. The same core features and user interface (UI) are present in each app, so users don’t need to learn a ton of new things to use everything Workspace has to offer. This is precisely what makes it the industry standard for corporate email management. In addition to consistency, Google’s UI is considerably better than Microsoft 365’s, which is more difficult to navigate and overall less attractive.
Intuitive calendar: Google Calendar is a peerless app for many users, with a clean interface that makes it easy to schedule meetings, set reminders, add tasks, and much more. Within Workspace, this can make remote work coordination a breeze. Book meetings, set availability and out-of-office periods, set up recurring video meetings (which easily integrates with Zoom or Google’s own Meet), and much more. And by integrating it with another Workspace app, Forms, you can even use it to manage customer and client appointments and other external scheduling needs.
Always accessible: Google’s uptime is fantastic. You don’t need to worry about losing work because the servers suddenly went down for maintenance—it just doesn’t happen. So, rest easy that the content you’ve written in Docs, the databases you’re building in Sheets, and anything else will stay synced and up-to-date with automatic cloud saving. And, if an app isn’t performing as it should, you can check everything’s status from the Google Workspace dashboard.
Where Google Workspace Needs Improvement
Document complexity: Google Workspace’s tools are fantastic for collaboration and communication, but one of the main areas Google falls short is its advanced features for its parallels to Microsoft’s Office suite. If you regularly create complex slideshows or need to use macros in your spreadsheets, you’re likely going to find more options and better functionality in Microsoft 365.
Privacy concerns: With Google Workspace being entirely cloud-based, there are some drawbacks in terms of privacy and security. That being said, Google’s apps allow for some degree of access control. However, Google also runs personalized ads and gets its data by scraping user information. This has led to many widespread privacy concerns, which is why some people avoid using Google’s suite of productivity tools in general. Overall, it’s just harder to keep your information, data, and work private.
Dodgy support: Google does not have a good reputation for customer support. It’s incredibly hard to connect to a real person to troubleshoot or resolve issues you’re having with their tools and products. On top of that, most support is web-based through live chat. Not only can that be frustrating and unhelpful, but you’ll also need an internet connection to get help. You can purchase offline support with Google Workspace, but the enhanced support add-on is only available to buy for users on the more expensive Workspace plans.
Where Office 365 Shines
Powerful enterprise tools: SharePoint and OneDrive are two of the most popular enterprise tools included in this suite. Together, they allow businesses to share and store documents online, as well as create company intranets and websites and unlock powerful business intelligence features. SharePoint also offers powerful search capabilities, so you can easily find the information you need. These differ from Google Drive and Sites, which are more basic and lack many of the advanced features offered by SharePoint and OneDrive.
Seamless collaboration: Microsoft Teams is an excellent platform for remote work and distributed teams. You can easily chat, video call, and share files, both within Teams itself and without having to leave the application you’re working in, like Word or PowerPoint. Communication is fast and convenient, allowing you to foster collaboration through threaded conversations, @ mentions, and the ability to set up channels for different projects.
Document creation: Microsoft Office is the gold standard here, supported by the peerless Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. On Microsoft 365, you not only get the full array of features these tools offer, its cloud-based nature means you also can create, edit, and access the documents, spreadsheets, and presentations you create from anywhere. There are also mobile apps you can download for the same purpose.
Quality support: Unlike Google, Microsoft does not withhold multiple support channels from its 365 users. All plans come with 24/7 phone and online support, plus access to technical support for implementation and troubleshooting.
Richer business tools: You can make Google Workspace work for a lot of business types, but it doesn’t go the extra mile for some organizations like Microsoft 365 does. Microsoft’s Bookings and Forms tools can be a cost-effective way for service-based businesses and others to handle and schedule appointments. And by combining Teams, Planner, and Lists, you can build a functional project management platform on Microsoft 365 that Google’s suite of tools can’t even approximate.
Where Office 365 Needs Improvement
Complicated interface: One of the biggest complaints about Microsoft 365 is that it’s complicated and harder to use compared to other solutions. The interface can be confusing if you’re not accustomed to it, especially for less commonly used tools like Exchange or SharePoint, and there are a lot of features that most users don’t need or use. This can make it difficult, or at least time-consuming, to get your team up and running on Microsoft 365.
Not a good solution for macOS: Apple device users will find that Microsoft 365 is not as user-friendly as Google Workspace. The interface is different, and some of the features don’t work as well on macOS as they do on Windows, if they do at all. This can make it a poor option if your team runs on Apple products.
Not a seamless experience: One of the biggest contrasts with Google Workspace is that apps on Microsoft 365 are siloed. For example, if you’re working on a Word document and need to look up something in Excel, you have to switch between apps. That’s not a big deal for a lot of folks, but it’s certainly not as helpful and time-saving as the Google suite’s truly seamless nature.
The Last Word on Google Workspace vs. Office 365
Although Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 both have their virtues and flaws, Google Workspace comes out slightly ahead as the better option for a wider range of people and organizations. It’s immensely user-friendly, and the smart features and seamless integration between apps make it a convenient platform for a lot of types of work.
That being said, Microsoft 365 is the vastly more capable suite of tools. Its document, spreadsheet, and presentation creators contain more features than Google’s equivalents, Teams is a robust communication and collaboration platform, and you’ll find unique tools like Bookings and SharePoint which Google just can’t match.
If you want more information with which to make a decision for your team, check out our full write-up on the best office suite software.