I grew up on Microsoft Office. I used Office in middle school, high school, and college. I now use Office 365 professionally on a daily basis. To a lot of you, this probably sounds familiar, because Microsoft Office was the first office suite software in existence. Many of us were learning how to use computers while we learned how to use Office.
In contrast, I used Google Apps for the first time this past summer when I needed to plan a vacation to Europe with one of my friends that lived in another state. My initial impression: it lacks features but works well in certain circumstances. I didn’t fall in love with it.
Since then, I’ve been researching Google Apps more extensively to find out whether Google Apps or Microsoft Office is the better choice for businesses. After finishing the research, Office 365 stands out as the clear winner. Keep reading to learn why.
Work Anytime and Anywhere
While Google Apps is known for it’s ease of use and ability to be accessed anywhere, it has a very serious flaw for businesses. If you have no internet access, you are in trouble. You can use it offline, but you must have Google Chrome installed, be signed into your Google account, and have the Google applications downloaded on your computer, all before leaving the safety of your internet connection.
This takes some planning, and if you’re like me, you need to access your documents even when you haven’t planned for it.
Additionally, if Google Apps stops working for whatever reason (Google server issues, lets just say), you won’t have access to your documents. For a business, this is troubling.
For Office 365 business plans this is a non-issue. Office 365 business plan users have access to both online and offline versions of the software. Which means that, whether you have internet access or not, you will never have any problems accessing what you need when you need it.
Google Apps simply doesn’t have the features that Office 365 offers users. If you are only using an office suite for personal use, this may be fine. But for businesses, this can be a huge problem.
Among the many shortcomings that I found, the worst were trying to get page layouts to appear correctly in Docs and Slides. Additionally, working with a lot of data in Sheets becomes cumbersome, and printing is not easy.
There was a point when the collaboration features in Google Apps were better than in Microsoft Office. But Office 2016 now has real-time editing of documents and better sharing features, which evens the collaboration gap between the two applications.
At the end of the day, the best word I can use to describe Google Apps is simplistic. For consumers, this is great, but businesses need applications that are more robust, and Google Apps just doesn’t perform.
Privacy and Security
In comparison, Microsoft states that they will not scan your data at all.
Google won’t necessarily do anything with your information that will hurt your business, but they could. It’s not a good idea to hand over data rights to a company that isn’t all that clear on what they are going to do with your data, even if they have a generally good reputation, and their slogan is “Don’t Be Evil.”
99.9% Service Level Agreement That’s Financially-Backed
Microsoft will reimburse you financially if Office 365 works less than 99.9% of the time. This means you can expect it to work more than 99.9% of the time, because Microsoft will lose money if it doesn’t.
Google Apps, on the other hand, makes no such promises, only offering service credits for downtime beyond their SLA.
In the end, what kills Google Apps is the lack of features. Even if you don’t think you need all of the features of Microsoft Office, there will probably come a day when you do, and if you have Google Apps, you won’t have them.