Microsoft 365 (earlier known as Office 365) and Google Workspace (formerly Google Workspace) are arguably the most popular and commonly used suites of business productivity tools. Through these productivity solutions, Microsoft and Google aim to offer a complete package of cloud-based applications and services for easier communication and collaboration.
Both suites are powerful, and reliable and offer several benefits to businesses of all sizes. Therefore, it can be extremely difficult to decide which productivity suite is the right fit for your business. In this article, we will compare the two suites, and analyze their features, plans and pricing, and key differentiators to help you make the right choice.
What is the difference between Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace?
Since Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are designed to boost productivity while enabling effective communication and team collaboration, the solutions are very similar. However, there are individual applications and management tools that are quite different from each other.
Each of these suites includes applications for word processing, spreadsheet calculation, presentation, email, instant messaging, video conferencing, calendar, web hosting, note-taking, etc., that organizations heavily rely on every day to accomplish critical business processes.
Here’s a comparison chart of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace for a quick overview:
|Features / Functions||Microsoft 365||Google Workspace|
|Plans & Pricing||Microsoft 365 Business Basic – $5/user/month
Microsoft 365 Business Standard – $12.50/user/month
Microsoft 365 Business Premium – $20/user/month
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business – $8.25/user/month
Microsoft 365 E3 – $32/user/month (annual commitment)
Microsoft 365 E5 – $57/user/month (annual commitment)
Microsoft 365 F3 – $8/user/month (annual commitment)
|Business Starter – $6/user/month
Business Standard – $12/user/month
Business Plus – $18/user/month
Google Workspace Enterprise Plans – Custom pricing
|Cloud Storage||1TB of OneDrive storage
50GB email storage
|Business Starter – 30GB per user
Business Standard – 2TB per user
Business Plus – 5TB per user
|Business Apps||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Teams, Outlook, Exchange, SharePoint||Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep, Sites, Google Drive, Calendar, Meet, Gmail, Chat|
|Collaboration & Communication||Supports simultaneous multiuser editing
Supports online meetings and video calls for up to 300 people
Allows you to connect with your team from your desktop or on-the-go with Microsoft Teams
Allows you to access team chats, meetings, files and apps and collaborate from one place
|Supports live multiuser editing
Google Meet supports up to 250 participants (depending on the plan) video and voice conferencing
Advanced chat rooms, including threaded rooms and guest access
|Security & Support||Data encryption
Microsoft cloud security technology
Data loss prevention
Built-in spam, malware and unusual activity detection
99.9% financially backed uptime guarantee
Round-the-clock phone and online support
Google cloud security protection
Data loss prevention
Built-in spam, phishing and unusual activity detection
99.9% application availability guarantee
Standard Support (paid upgrade to Enhanced Support)
Standard Support (paid upgrade to Enhanced Support)
Plans and pricing of a cloud solution play a crucial role in determining if the solution meets your budget and business requirements.
Microsoft 365 plans and pricing
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic: This basic plan is ideal for businesses that require simple remote solutions. This plan is available for $5 per user per month. It includes business email, 1TB of OneDrive for storage, and web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Desktop versions of Office apps are not included in this plan.
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard: This plan is available for $12.50 per month per user and is best suited for organizations looking for complete remote and collaboration tools. It combines the Business Basic plan with all the premium office apps, including desktop versions.
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium: This Microsoft 365 edition costs $20 per user per month. In addition to the premium apps and cloud services available in Business Standard, it also includes advanced security and management services. This plan is suitable for organizations that require advanced threat protection and remote work solutions.
- Microsoft 365 Apps for business: This edition costs you $8.25 per month per user and is ideal for small businesses and startups that use Office apps and cloud file storage, but do not require Microsoft’s business email. This plan doesn’t include business email, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.
Google Workspace plans and pricing
- Business Starter: If you have a small business or are just starting new, this plan is ideal for you. The cost of this basic plan is $6 per user per month and includes 30GB of cloud storage for each user. This plan doesn’t include shared drives for your team, AppSheet, Cloud Search and Vault (for retaining, archiving and searching data).
- Business Standard: This is the most popular Google Workspace plan and is available for $12 per user per month. This plan offers 2TB of cloud storage per user. This plan supports video meetings for up to 150 participants and also allows recording of the meetings. Similar to Business Starter, this plan doesn’t include Vault for data retention and eDiscovery.
- Business Plus: This plan is ideal for businesses seeking more storage capacity and enhanced security. It is available for $18 per user per month and includes several additional features like hosting online meetings for up to 250 participants, attendance tracking and Cloud Search. This plan provides enhanced security and management controls, including Vault and advanced endpoint management.
- Enterprise: Google’s most premium plan, the Enterprise edition offers unlimited cloud storage (as much storage as you need). This plan includes all the key features of Business Plus as well as other advanced capabilities and security solutions, such as in-domain live streaming, Connected Sheets, AppSheet, S/MIME encryption, DLP, data regions and enterprise endpoint management. You can avail custom pricing for this plan by contacting Google’s sales team.
Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace security
- Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are designed to meet stringent data privacy and security standards. The suites are regularly updated, which keeps them secure. Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace allow platform administrators to customize security protocols to control user access and permissions.
- Microsoft 365 offers email protection from spam, malware and other threats with Exchange Online Protection. The robust solution provides more than 1,000 security and privacy controls that help you meet industry standards and regulations. Its security groups and custom permissions allow you to protect your business information from unauthorized access.
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise editions give you access to advanced threat protection features like identity and access management that establishes secure connections between users, devices, applications and data, Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics, Data Loss Prevention for email and files, Windows Information Protection and BitLocker, Microsoft Security and Compliance Center, eDiscovery and advanced audit, and Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Device Guard, that secure your Windows devices against viruses, spyware and other malware.
- Google Workspace offers phishing and spam protection for your email. It provides two-factor verification, group-based policy controls, Advanced Protection Program and endpoint management. With the Business Plus edition, you get access to Vault to retain, archive and search data and Secure Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) that allows you to connect your LDAP-based apps and services to Cloud Identity or Google Workspace. Google Workspace Enterprise edition gives you access to premium features like data loss prevention (DLP), security center and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) encryption.
The functionality of the two productivity suites is largely the same. However, a key differentiating factor that separates Microsoft 365 from Google Workspace is that Microsoft 365 apps are available in both desktop and web versions. As such, Microsoft offers licenses for “browser-based apps” and other licenses for “full installations.” This enables you to download and install desktop versions on their local devices and use them offline if required. Microsoft 365 also offers Publisher, a desktop publishing app, Access, a database app, Project, a project management tool, and Planner, a browser-based app, to organize and manage tasks.
Google Workspace doesn’t provide the installable desktop versions that you can use on your PC. However, Google Workspace does have a web-app feature that provides offline functions for Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Another key difference is storage. Microsoft 365 offers its users 1TB of cloud storage, while with Google Workspace, the storage capacity varies depending on the edition you purchase — from 30GB to unlimited storage (with the Enterprise edition).
Both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are secure platforms. However, Microsoft’s multi-factor authentication takes it a notch higher as compared to Google Workspace’s two-factor authentication. Also, since Google Workspace integrates with a plethora of third-party apps, this may prove to be risky when users grant permissions to take advantage of these apps.
Which is the best for my business?
Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace have a long list of impressive features that are designed to make your workflow smoother and more productive. For startups or small businesses that require simple, easy-to-use business applications that could get you up and running instantly, Google Workspace is the best choice.
For businesses that require powerful and sophisticated features, Microsoft 365 is the go-to productivity suite. Microsoft 365 has similar capabilities for collaboration and productivity. However, the learning curve could be a bit steep when compared with the simplicity of Google Workspace.
In terms of “running a business” versus “saving money,” Google Workspace can be a great choice for businesses that don’t need all the functionality of Microsoft 365.