Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 : Which has better management tools?

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365

So, in this post, I’m going to put the two product suites  head to head in a detailed comparison and help you decide which is best.

I’ll explore all the pros and cons of each product in depth and explain when — and why — you might want to use one over the other.

Let’s start with an important question…

What do Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace do?

Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are suites of productivity tools that let you perform common business tasks ‘in the cloud,’ using a web browser.

These Includes

  • sending emails
  • managing calendars
  • creating documents,
  • spreadsheets and
  • presentations
  • video conferencing
  • file management
  • team collaboration

Microsoft 365 also provides a comprehensive range of desktop applications — programs that you install on your computer, rather than using online.

Both products recently underwent name changes — Microsoft 365 was previously called ‘Office 365’, and Google Workspace was formerly known as ‘G Suite’ (and, prior to that, ‘Google Apps’).

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Do You want to watch Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 video comparison?

If you’re in a hurry, you can watch our Microsoft vs Google Workspace video comparison below to get a quick understanding of the key pros and cons of both productivity suites. However, to get the best understanding of the differences between these tools, we recommend watching the video AND reading the rest of this article.

Pricing Compare — Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365

The pricing structure for Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 differs by territory – but is broadly comparable from one country to another.

For the purposes of this comparison, I’m looking at the plans priced in US Dollars, but my comments apply to Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 in general.

Let’s look at Google Workspace pricing first.

Google Workspace pricing
Choosing a Google Workspace plan is fairly straightforward.

There are four plans available:

  • Business Starter — $6 per user per month
  • Business Standard — $12 per user per month
  • Business Plus — $18 per user per month
  • Enterprise — custom pricing

The key differences to watch out for between these plans are as follows:

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  • Storage — this is limited to just 30GB per user on the ‘Business Starter’ plan; by contrast the ‘Business Standard’, ‘Business Plus’ and ‘Enterprise’ plans give you 2TB, 5TB and unlimited storage respectively per user.
  • User accounts – the ‘Business Starter,’ ‘Business Standard’ and ‘Business Plus’ plans all cap the number of user ‘seats’ at 300; if you want more user accounts, you have to purchase an ‘Enterprise’ plan.
  • Video calls — you can have 100 participants on a call using the ‘Business Starter’ plan, 150 with ‘Business Standard’ and 500 with ‘Business Plus’ and ‘Enterprise.’ (The ‘Business Starter’ plan doesn’t facilitate the recording of video conference calls; ‘Business Standard’ lets you record video and track attendance; ‘Enterprise’ calls feature noise cancellation and in-domain live streaming).
  • Security features — on the ‘Business Plus’ and ‘Enterprise’ plans you get significantly more security features. These include ‘Vault’, a tool for retaining and searching your users’ data, and endpoint management, which gives you more control over how users can access Google Workspace features and data across different devices.
  • Searching features — all plans except the ‘Business Starter’ plan give you access to a ‘smart search’ tool called Google Cloud search. This functionality makes it easier to locate files within an organisation’s Google Workspace storage.
  • App creation — if you’re on the ‘Enterprise’ plan, you get access to Google’s ‘Appsheet’ tool. This is a ‘no-code’ tool that aims to let you build mobile and web apps without coding.

As with most software as a service tools, to get a sense of which plan is the right fit for your business, you can try Google Workspace free for 14 days.

Now, let’s take a look at Microsoft 365 pricing.

Microsoft 365 pricing
The pricing options for Microsoft 365 are considerably more complicated, because there are home, business, enterprise, government, non-profit and education versions available — and within these, a lot of sub-versions!

This means there’s a lot of flexibility — but it’s rather confusing trawling through all the plans to work out which one is best suited to your requirements.

For the purposes of this review, I’m going to focus on the Microsoft 365 plans which are geared towards small business and enterprise users.

These are as follows:

Small business / SMEs
The Microsoft ‘Business’ plans are aimed at small or new businesses and are priced accordingly. There are four plans available:

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  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic — $6 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business — $8.25 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard — $12.50 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium — $22.00 per user per month

Enterprise
There are four main ‘Enterprise’ plans to consider. The naming convention for these is a little odd, to be honest — a combination of letters and numbers rather than more ‘obvious’ labels are used:

  • Microsoft 365 E1 — $10 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 E3 — $23 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 E5 — $38 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise — $12 per user per month

    You can compare all the enterprise plans here.

Microsoft 365 ‘Enterprise’ plans

Pricing for Microsoft 365 ‘Enterprise’ plans

The main things to note about these plans are as follows:

  • To get the best value out of Microsoft 365, you need to pay annually. Each 365 ‘Business’ plan comes in a couple of dollars more expensive if you pay monthly, and with the ‘Enterprise’ plans, there’s no option to do so. By contrast, all the Google Workspace pricing is based on a per-month basis, which may suit some organisations a bit better — for example, those with regular changes in the number of staff, or those using contractors.
  • Storage varies by plan. The Business plans all provide 1TB storage per user, but depending on the plan and the number of users involved, the Enterprise ones can give you 5TB.
  • The ‘Microsoft 365 Apps’ plans only provide you with the desktop apps (i.e., the versions of Word, Excel etc. that you install on your computer).
  • The Microsoft 365 ‘Business’ plans all limit the maximum number of users to 300; by contrast, you can have an unlimited number of users on the ‘Enterprise’ Microsoft plans. Interestingly however, you can mix and match license types — for example, you could use 300 Business Standard licenses, 300 Business Premium licenses, and 100 Enterprise E3 ones within the same organization.
  • Not all plans provide you with with installable versions of the Microsoft Office product suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.) — the ‘Business Basic’ plan only gives you access to the mobile and online versions, and the ‘E1’ plan restricts you to using the browser-based version.
  • Not all of the 365 plans provide users with an email account — if you want to use Microsoft 365 as your email service provider, you’ll need to avoid the Business and Enterprise ‘Microsoft 365 Apps’ plans.
  • You can only avail of a fully functional version of Microsoft Stream — its video collaboration service — on the Enterprise plans (all except the the ‘Apps for Enterprise’ plan include it).

As you can probably see by now, although it’s helpful get an idea of the pricing of both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, there are so many different plans available that a pricing comparison is not going to give you the clearest answer on which of these tools is best for you.

To get that, you need to focus on features — so let’s drill down into these.

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Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 : the features

File storage
If we’re talking about entry-level plans, then Microsoft 365 is a clear winner here: you get a generous 1TB of storage with the ‘Business Basic’ plan, which compares very positively to Google’s rather paltry 30GB on its ‘Business Starter’ plan.

(To add insult to injury, Google also counts emails as taking up space in this 30GB limit — and from 2 May 2022, newly created Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, or Jamboard slides, which weren’t previously considered as taking up space, will also count towards storage.)

However, if you move up to the Google Workspace ‘Business Standard’ or ‘Business Plus’ plans, you’ll find that Google starts getting more competitive.

With these Google Workspace plans, you get 2TB or 5TB storage respectively, which is extremely useful to any business that has a need to store a large quantity of files in the cloud. This compares positively to all the Microsoft ‘Business’ plans, which all cap file storage at 1TB.

Although Microsoft’s 1TB limit is also pretty generous, you’d be surprised how quickly you can burn through 1TB of storage if you’re uploading large image, video or audio files to the cloud.

That said, if you’re just talking about working with standard documents and spreadsheets, a 1TB limit per user should be perfectly adequate for most small to medium sized businesses.

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Microsoft does provide more generous file storage on its ‘Enterprise’ plans; if you’re on a $23+ plan you can avail of 5TB storage per user (so long as you have 5+ users in your organization).

Storage: 

The entry level $6 per month Microsoft 365 plan, ‘Business Basic,’ is considerably more generous than Google Workspace equivalent when it comes to email storage — a dedicated 50GB inbox is available on top of the 1TB file storage provided.

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 FAQs

What’s the main advantage of using Microsoft 365 over Google Workspace?
The key reason to choose Microsoft 365 over Google Workspace is the inclusion of its desktop apps — most 365 plans give you access to fully installable versions of the classic Microsoft applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint and so on). These tend to be more feature-rich than the Google equivalents and can be used easily online.

What’s the main advantage of using Google Workspace over Microsoft 365?
The key reason to choose Google Workspace over Microsoft 365 involves interoperability: it lets you edit files created with both Workspace and 365. That said, you can occasionally run into formatting problems when using Google’s apps to save in Microsoft format, particularly if editing complex files.

Can I use Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offline?
Yes. Both platforms allow you to save your files locally and use apps to edit them. Microsoft 365 is the more obvious choice for offline working however (so long as you are on a plan that lets you install its desktop apps).

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# Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 # Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 

# Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
# Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
# Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
# Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365
# Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365

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