It you’re a business owner, freelance worker, or anyone in need of a digital office suite, you might find yourself at the crossroads of choosing between Office 365 or G Suite.
This becomes exponentially more difficult if you don’t have experience with either. Worry not. Instead, learn how these two services match up on pricing, usability, and features. Read along as we discuss the pros and cons of Office 365 vs. G Suite in an effort to highlight which one best fits the needs of your specific business.
What do G Suite and Office 365 do?
Both subscription services are office suite productivity tools that allow you to go about most daily tasks, such as writing documents, creating spreadsheets, making presentations, and communicating with both clients and team members.
Microsoft first created Microsoft Office Suite, a physical program for PCs that came with the now famous Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In the last decade, Google released G Suite for the cloud to compete with Microsoft, which boasted an online collaboration center, word processor, spreadsheet processor, and presentation creator.
Moving these services to the cloud completely revolutionized the capability of office suite tech, drastically improving cooperation and communication. Taking Google’s cue, in 2011, Microsoft pushed their popular service into the cloud, looking for ways to simplify and optimize their services to improve productivity.
What is Office 365?
Office 365 Suite for Business comes in one of two main packages, Business and Business Premium. For both packages, you receive the applications in web version and desktop form, meaning that you get the hard-copy versions to load onto your computer to use even if you’re offline.
Office 365 Business
At $8.25 per user per month for an annual contract, Business is perfect for teams that need cloud storage and collaboration, as well as Office applications. It does not, however, include business email. The base Business level gives you the following:
- Outlook – Microsoft’s web-based all-in-one suite of email, tasks, calendar, and contacts lets you work productively and share attachments directly from OneDrive. It also allows you to schedule meetings, block out time to work on a project, or book a conference room directly from your Outlook calendar.
- Word – Microsoft’s most famous application is its word processor. Word gives you the tools to write confidently and intelligently. With Suite, you can work with a teammate in real-time, collaborating on the same project.
- Excel – The original spreadsheet processor, Excel has been refined over the years thanks to new tools, charts, formulas, and templates that all improve data organization and output.
- PowerPoint – A presentation program that lets you create vivid and powerful pitches and presentations. With 365 collaboration, you can have several people working on the same PowerPoint at one time.
- OneNote – A digital notebook that helps you and your team take notes and get organized. Notes is especially great for tablets where you can write notes, doodle, underline or highlight sections.
- OneDrive – A file hosting service that lets users save files and photos to OneDrive and then access them on any device from wherever that person is.
You receive 1TB of OneDrive storage and a license that covers fully-installed Office apps on five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five phones. This may be a good option for small businesses.
Office 365 Business Premium
Business Premium costs $12.50 a month per user with an annual contract. This is perfect for businesses that require a business email, Office suite, and other Microsoft business services including:
- Exchange – Microsoft’s business version of Outlook is more powerful and comes with tools businesses need for their email services and calendaring. With an adaptive, intelligent inbox and a smart calendar, your ability to communicate and organize improves dramatically.
- Sharepoint – A browser-based document management and collaboration platform, this content management system and information portal can run via Internet, Intranet, or Extranet.
- Microsoft Teams – A platform that organizes chats, notes, meetings, and attachments whether in Office or on Skype.
- Business Email Hosting – Create a custom email domain address. Each user has a 50 GB inbox.
- Skype Call – Video conferencing for up to 250 users.
- Support – 24/7 phone and web support.
What is G Suite?
G Suite’s web-based service comes in one of three packages: Basic, Business, and Enterprise. G Suite provides businesses with more flexibility for payment,allowing the purchase of a subscription on either a monthly or annual basis. While the monthly may cost a few dollars more, it gives you the option to add or drop users, or to discontinue services.
G Suite Basic
For $5 per month per user, G Suite Basic gives you 30 GB of storage and access to G Suite’s baseline applications. Unlike Office 365, G Suite’s most basic plan provides access to a business email, through Gmail. Other features include:
- Calendar – Set your schedule and manage your day with Calendar. Create, request, set, or invite other team members to meetings, or simply block out time where you’re not to be disturbed. If you share your calendar with teammates, they see your agenda, and can plan accordingly.
- Docs – Cloud-based word processor that lets team members edit, read, comment on, or share documents easily. With cloud-tracking in docs, you never lose a file or an edit, increasing accountability, and allowing you to go back to view older versions of the document.
- Forms – Create fun and simple polls or surveys with members of your team. Forms helps you get answers fast and then compiles them intelligently, making analysis easy.
- Gmail – The most powerful and popular email service in the world. G Suite Basic lets you create a business email linked to your domain and powered by Gmail’s smart inbox tech.
- Google Drive Storage – Google’s cloud storage that lets you store any file, whether that is a video, doc, sheet, pdf, adobe, music, or photo file.
- Hangouts – Google’s video conference service, Business Hangouts, is a powerful and consistent tool that allows up to ten people to video conference at once.
- Sheets – This online spreadsheet tool helps you organize and compile critical data. Create a spreadsheet, collaborate with a teammate, and share with others instantly.
- Slides – Google’s PowerPoint feature lets you create beautiful presentations.
G Suite Business
For $10 per month per user, G Suite Business gives you all of the tools mentioned above and then boasts up to 1 terabyte of data storage per user for five or fewer users, or unlimited for more than five users. G Suite Business also includes:
- 24/7 Support by phone, email, and web messaging.
- Archive policies for email and chat.
- Audit reports that track user activity.
- eDiscovery for chats, emails, and other files.
- G Suite Data Regions.
- Set retention for email and chat.
- Smart search via Cloud Search.
As the name suggests, Business is the model that most small to medium-sized businesses should utilize. The increased storage and search capabilities make it vastly more powerful.
G Suite Enterprise
For $25 per month per user, G Suite Enterprise is intended for large companies that require a ton of storage, advanced security, and more control. Google Hangouts is upgraded to Google Meet, which dramatically improves video quality, and allows 30 members to participate in a video conference. These include all of the features above as well as the following:
- Enterprise-grade security with Google Drive.
- BigQuery Gmail log analysis.
- Hosted S/MIME encryption to improve your mail’s security.
- Data regions for G Suite.
- G Suite Security Center.
- Email traffic scanning.
- Image scanning for text.
- Third-party email archiving.
- Data loss prevention for Gmail.
- Data loss prevention for Drive.
- Gmail logs BigQuery analysis.
- Automatic mobile device management.
- Suspicious activity detection.
Office 365 vs. G Suite
As you can tell, these services provide very similar products. Both are widely used, widely praised, and boast similar functionality. Selecting the right one depends on your business’ specific needs. Below, let’s compare and contrast some of the critical factors that distinguish the two:
Although their prices are not all that different, G Suite’s basic plan is notably cheaper and still comes with a business email. When you reach the Business and Enterprise levels the cost difference and services received are largely comparable. G Suite does give you more flexibility with the option for a monthly or annual plan, but Office 365 also provides your team with desktop versions of the app. This gives Office 365 a slight edge in what you’re paying and what you’re receiving at Business, or higher levels.
When you’re talking entry-level plans, Office 365 1 TB of storage far exceeds Google’s 30 GB of storage that comes with the Basic G Suite. On top of that, G Suite counts email messages as a part of that 30 GB. That said, when you move up to the Business plans, Google’s plan beats out Microsoft’s plans by a large margin. If you have more than five users, G Suite Business offers unlimited storage which is significantly more storage than 365’s single terabyte.
Office 365’s Business plan offers far more email storage than G Suite’s Basic plan. However, it maxes out at 100 GB, whereas Gmail’s upper level inbox storage is limitless. When it comes to the functionality of these email services Gmail is simple, more popular, pairs with third-party apps, and makes message discovery easy. Office 365, on the other hand, is likely the more powerful of the two and has greater organizational tools, but a much steeper learning curve. Furthermore, Gmail is much more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing.
When it comes to the main apps, the discussion turns heavily in favor of Office 365. They were the original flagship programs for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and have perfected these tools over the years. G Suite’s Docs, Sheets, and Google Slides are streamlined, but lack some of the more advanced features you can find with Office 365. While G Suite’s simultaneous collaboration is a big point in its favor, if you rely heavily on word processing, spreadsheets or presentations, Office wins this fight hands down.
As with other features, on the surface, both G Suite’s and Office 365’s video conferencing apps are quite powerful. That said, the dependability, quality, and functionality of Hangouts are significant improvements on the bulkier and less reliable Skype. Hangouts also has a fantastic feature that magnifies whoever is speaking on the screen, which makes it easier to focus when having multiple people in the same video conference.
While both services allow for online collaboration, Office 365’s additional bells and whistles actually detract from the ease of working together. G Suite was created with collaboration as the main selling point, whereas Office 365 added this feature in order to compete with G Suite. G Suite’s simplicity and streamlined features makes collaboration more natural and more intuitive. It’s also much easier to navigate for the “computer novice.”
Make the right decision for your small business needs
Your business may care more about the desktop features and jam-packed desktop apps of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, or it might require the superior collaboration features and additional space provided by G Suite. The best tools depend on the specific needs of your small business.
Regardless of which platform you choose, both services are compatible with Domain.com and can be linked to your custom domain. At the end of the day, both of these services are renowned software tools that aid your pursuit of success, no matter your goals