On the surface there’s little that sets Google Apps for Business apart from its closest counterpart Office 365. They’re both similar prices and each offer similar feature-sets, boasting a wide selection of productivity tools and extra pleasantries.
Office 365, released as recently has 2011, has become a widely used and popular service.
It has quickly become one of Microsoft’s primary profit drivers, and it’s easy to see why. Since the inclusion of the Office 2013 it has become an even more attractive proposition for the millions of ‘office familiar’ users used to the Microsoft suite of software’s. The addition making it much easier to work in and out of the cloud, work across multiple devices and collaborate with others, no matter what set-up you’re using.
Both Google apps and Microsoft Office 365 allow users to share, co-author and collaborate on documents in real-time.
Office 365 Much more flexible in terms of pricing structure – One of the notable differences between the two cloud based suites is their pricing structure, allowing for a greater level of choice depending on your specific business needs.
Office 365 for small business allows up to 25 users and starts at $5 per user per month, the next step up including full desktop applications is $12.50 per user per month. The next step up from that for up to 300 users includes self-service business intelligence, desktop versions and Yammer social enterprise integration.
Google’s offers a simple flat rate of $5 per user per month, or $50 per year. The next package up offering unlimited storage and Google Vault, offered at $10 per month or $120 per year.
Office 365 better offline working, more powerful desktop apps – While Google apps is more about the essential tools required for word processing anywhere, anytime. Office 365 offers the additional power of their Microsoft’s desktop suite, Office 2013. Something that a few years back may have been an important decision maker for small business owners, although these days the need for such tools is reducing each day.
Google apps for business does offer offline working as well, simply download the Google drive for desktop application or enable offline mode, which does also require the Google Drive for Chrome extension.
Greater familiarity with Office 365 – For the vast majority the familiarity of Office 365 will be very welcomed, it’s a format that we all know and are used to. That said Google’s answer to word, excel and powerpoint are quick to pick up for most. The other advantage is the lack of unnecessary of features which largely go unused.
The simplicity of Google Apps lets you focus on what’s important, which becomes useful when you consider your potentially paying for a set of features you just won’t use.
Google Sheets remains limited for some – Sheets always has, and still remains far behind Excel in terms of more complex formulas and flexibility. That said Google has made improvements to their spreadsheets application that bring it closer to its Microsoft counterpart. The ability to easily pull data from Google Search and Finance helping to level the playing field for Sheets.
Overall it’s really a case of your businesses reliance on Excel, and it’s more complex features. Again the familiarity of Excel may play an important part and just tip in favour of Office 365 in the balance.
Office 365 with Yammer Integration (For larger mid-sized businesses) – Used by more than 200,000 companies worldwide, Yammer is a private social network just for enterprises. The aim being to provide a platform for workers to collaborate across departments and different locations.
Well stocked app marketplaces – A significant advantage to crowd-based platforms is the ability for business owners to customise their suite of tools, allowing us to create a much more relevant working environment based on our business’s needs.
Office 365 and Google Apps Marketplace each offer a wide array of valuable applications to increase your businesses productivity and make your life easier.
One of the first things you may notice is the familiarity with the Google Play marketplace. There seems to be a much easier feel towards the Google Apps Marketplace, clearly defining which apps do what, who they’re aimed at and how they benefit your business.
Google doesn’t beat around the bush, “We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.” – Google has been known to scan mail, and the contents of your documents to serve their ads.
Microsoft approach to privacy almost a mirror opposite: “We use your data for just what you pay us for: to maintain and provide Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online services. We make it our policy to not use your data for other purposes. While some data may be stored or processed on systems used for both consumer and business services, our business services are designed and operated separately from Microsoft’s consumer services. Microsoft does not scan emails or documents for advertising purposes.”
Google apps isn’t about offering all things to all people, but it is about offering ‘essential things’ to all people. The interface is slick, easy to get set up with and does what you expect. Google doesn’t try to emulate Office and all that it is, the service is minimal, stripped back and straight to the point.
If you’re looking for something with a little more power, or even familiarity, Office 365 may be the most suitable choice for you.
Whichever you go with, each has been very well designed to make your job easier. The pricing’s not hugely different, but the real consideration is are you paying for something you’re just simply not using? Microsoft does a good job at fitting in everything you need, but not blasting it all in your face. Google does a good job of giving you the bare minimum you need, and keeping it all in one place.