Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365

Deborah Jepson

Which of these powerful productivity platforms works best for you?

During lockdown, many schools, businesses, charities and other organisations had to urgently adopt a business productivity tool – typically Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace – in order to enable working from home and keep their organisation up and running.

Today, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace have become the two leading digital productivity solutions to streamline workflows and drive collaboration. In fact, as of 2024, these two platforms collectively power the productivity of millions of users worldwide, with Microsoft 365 currently leading in market share.

So, in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, which one is the right choice for your business?

A quick overview: Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365

Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools. It includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Meet. It allows users to collaborate in real-time where multiple users can work simultaneously on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, regardless of location.

Microsoft 365 includes the desktop and cloud-based versions of its Microsoft Office suite of productivity tools. Featuring well-known apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, along with powerful collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, as well as Power BI, an advanced data analytics tool, Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking innovative features and robust security measures.

9 key differences between Google Workspace and Microsoft 365

1. Applications: Microsoft 365 offers more applications than Google Workspace. While Google focusses on simplicity and ease of use, Microsoft 365 provides more advanced features and design options, particularly in applications like Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.

2. Storage: Google Workspace can impose storage limitations, which might be restrictive for those organisations with significant data storage needs.

3. Customisation: Google Workspace is offers limited customisations, so typically for those large enterprises with specific needs, Microsoft 365 offers greater customisation for enterprise-level deployment.

4. Collaboration & Productivity: Google Workspace states that it is designed with collaboration as its main focus. And the apps, such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides, are optimised for real-time teamwork. Microsoft 365, while offering collaboration and communication features in Teams and SharePoint, also excels in individual user productivity with more feature-rich applications.

5. Integration: Both platforms offer good integration within their own ecosystems. Google Workspace apps integrate seamlessly with each other, providing a unified experience. However, Microsoft 365 integrates its applications with a broader range of additional services and tools, offering a more comprehensive productivity environment.

6. User Experience: Google Workspace tends to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate for beginners or those users who prefer simplicity. Microsoft 365, with its advanced features, may present a steeper learning curve for those not used to its complex layout – but it does offer more capabilities for power users.

7. Cloud-Native vs. Desktop-Oriented: Although Google Workspace is cloud-based, it does have the capability to work offline, although services are limited when compared to online. Microsoft 365 provides a blend of cloud-based and desktop applications. Yet the web-based versions of its applications are less powerful than the installed desktop software.

8. Security: Microsoft 365 provides more robust enterprise-level security features than Google Workspace, including ransomware protection.

9. Pricing: Google Workspace offers a simpler pricing strategy, generally making it a more budget-friendly option compared to the more complex, tiered pricing structure of Microsoft 365.

Is Microsoft 365 the best productivity suite?

Both these productivity platforms claim to enhance collaboration and drive productivity, although they also have unique differences too – it is not just a simple selection of software. Implementing Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 is a strategic decision that needs to align with your organisational needs, working environment, security requirements and long-term goals.

Microsoft 365 can work better for:

  • Complex projects requiring high-level functionalities and customisations.
  • Businesses already invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem.
  • Larger businesses or organisations requiring strict compliance and security measures.

Google Workspace can work better for:

  • Organisations focussed on ease of use and real-time collaboration.
  • Teams operating across multiple types of devices and operating systems.
  • Smaller business that do not require high-level features but need an effective, budget-friendly solution.

Google Workspace emphasises user friendliness and collaboration, whereas Microsoft 365 offers a broader range of advanced features, functionality, management tools and security options. As Microsoft 365 experts, we have already supported numerous customers, including charities, MATs, Universities and other organisations adopt Microsoft 365, helping them engage more productively, collaborate better and build sustainable success.

Future proof your workplace

We can help you enable technology to empower your people and elevate your workplace, school, or non profit with Microsoft 365. Read how we helped Bath Spa University streamline it’s digital estate and migrate 42,000 users, 20,000,000 files and 114tb of data from Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 to future proof the digital skills of staff and students. And of course, find out more what we do with M365 or simply contact us today.