I wouldn’t be the first one to write an article comparing Office 365 to Google for work (or Google Apps), but some how I find most of the articles out there lacks the deciding punch. People just do a neck to neck feature comparison of the two and then leave the ball in your court to design.  With this article I actually want to make a decision, at least for myself, its OK if you disagree.

Google Apps started offering professional work email in the familiar Gmail interface somewhere around 2006, however the Microsoft started its offering with Exchange 2007 in cloud somewhere in the end of 2009. I must say in the beginning both the products were just average, Google had the advantage of Gmail interface but Exchange 2007 wasn’t that great product in itself and hence BPOS was strictly average as well. But since then both the products has been evolved to quite some extent.

Coming back to the current versions called as Google for work and Office 365, both are excellent products with comparable features like compliance, robust email infrastructure, Communicator software (HangOut and Skype for business) , cloud editors for docs, spreadsheets etc. So all in all both the products are good, so which one you should choose ???

Which one to choose ?? I feel most of the people contemplating with this idea already knows their answer, People have their loyalty set with either MS or Google and no matter what any of the review suggest you will follow your heart. Let me write down a few comparison which should clarify what I mean

Simplicity Vs Complexity : Google lives in the browser its simple, pretty much platform independent. You could be on a windows, Linux or Mac PC, you get the same kind of treatment within the browser. On the other hand, Microsoft made has us addicted with the desktop office Applications like Excel, word, outlook etc.   So the answer is simple, if you want to keep using outlook and other office apps then Office 365 is for you, if you love the simplicity of platform independent browser then Google it is.  Wait, did I hear you can configure Google on outlook? well, yes you can but there will be no sync of contacts, calendar etc. It will be an Imap email sync and that too with too many issues like random repeated authentication prompts.

Young Vs Old users: Studies has revealed that young users are more comfortable with browser access (Google) where as older users (33 years to 60 years or more) are more comfortable to the desktop office apps like outlook. So again if your users are more from the mature group then you are better of with Office 365.

IT support Cost:  Though in itself Office 365 and Google for work both are pretty bug free and from the server end you hardly run into any issues ever but still because of Office 365 dependence on desktop apps there is a possibility of technical issues for which you need to have some kind of local IT support available for users. In case you want to completely avoid this then Google is your winner or else Office 365 it is.

Productivity Vs Simplicity: Some may not agree with me here completely, but I feel Office desktop apps are simply more productive. With Office 365 there is never-ending possibility of desktop and productivity apps, like they added Sway recently to the group.  So if you are a company which simply works by sending and receiving emails and not very involved in making presentations or other attractive material then you are better off with Google, else 365 is the way to go.

I hope the above points does give you some clarity about which way you should go, I personally feel that more established business go towards Office 365 and I have seen the businesses who decided to take the off beat path to Google and have heard the hues and cries of the employees who are asked to give away their favourite desktop apps. Yes the cry does settle down with time but what  doesn’t.

Plans for 365 and Google start almost at similar price point $5 ( In India Google offers the base plan for less than $3), so the major difference comes with your preference and a bit of IT support as and when needed.  If you are an established brand with a substantial number of users then Office 365 will be best suited for you, this is my opinion and experience because I see companies moving from Google to Office 365 every day, its only when they realise that Google do not suffice their needs any more. Also 365 is more integrated with your on premise Exchange (optional-Hybrid) and AD servers environment and that really comes handy when you manage a bigger organisation in terms of User number.

I will conclude this article by saying that Office 365 is my preference between these two,I look forward to know your thoughts and what you choose in the comments below.

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