Comparison of Office 365 with Google Apps and Google Docs

In this article, I will talk about Microsoft Office 365 and the interesting features it offers. We will compare the features available in Office 365 and Google Apps/Docs. A feature comparison table of Office 365 and Google Apps is given at the end.

Google Apps - Enterprise services at low cost

Google introduced Google Apps few years ago and it has been gaining popularity among enterprises. Google Apps provide a range of services including:

  • Email

  • Google Calendar

  • Chat

  • Custom Apps

  • Google Sites

  • I have been using the paid Email services from Google apps for more than a year. Even though I have tried the free email services from Google apps for couple of years so far, I switched to paid services only last year. I have used the Google Emails to the maximum possible in many of my websites and have been very happy. In last 10 years, I have tried several email providers for sending emails from my websites, but was never happy with any of them.

    Google Apps offers a basic plan which allows you to use most of the features with some limitation. The paid service allows you to send hundreds of emails and use extended features.

    Google Docs - store your documents in the cloud for free

    Google Docs offers document management services. You can create new documents and they will be stored in the web cloud. You can organize all your documents and manage them online. You may import documents from your computer to Google Docs and they will be available online from anywhere in the web for viewing and editing. Also, you can export your docs in Google cloud to your local computer.

    "Google Docs" supports the following document types:

  • Document(Like MS Word)

  • Spreadsheets (Similar to Microsoft Excel)

  • Presentations (Similar to Microsoft Powerpoint)

  • Drawing - create flow charts and diagrams

  • In addition to the above document types, you may upload any file types to your Google Docs account and store them in the cloud. This allows you to use Google Docs as a backup service at low cost.

    Google Docs is a free service. You may use it as a backup program to store files up to 1GB and you may purchase additional storage at a cost.

    Microsoft Office 365 and the cloud based services

    Office 365 is the answer from Microsoft to the challenges from Google Apps and Google Docs. Microsoft has combined several features including Spreadsheets, Word, Exchange, Sharepoint etc into a single platform in the cloud and offer subscription based services. Your documents will be stored in the cloud and are accessible from anywhere in the web.

    Office 365 integrates the following services from Microsoft:

  • Exchange (for email)

  • MS Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)

  • Sharepoint (for online document management)

  • Lync 2010

  • Compare Google Docs with Microsoft Office 365

    Google Docs allow you to create and edit the following document types:

  • Document(Like MS Word)

  • Spreadsheets (Similar to Microsoft Excel)

  • Presentations (Similar to Microsoft Powerpoint)

  • Drawing - create flow charts and diagrams

  • Office 365 also supports all of the above except the Drawing. Drawing is a new type supported in Google Docs which can be used to create flow charts and diagrams. The drawings can be exported to local computer as an image file (.png, .jpg) or as a .PDF file.

    Office 365 supports an additional type called One Notes. You may upload notes created using Microsoft One Note to Office 365 Sharepoint site.

    Overall, Google Docs offers more choices and more editing options. However, remember Office 365 is still under beta and not yet officially released.

    One of the significant advantage with Office 365 over Google Docs is, in Office 365, documents are organized in a sharepoint website which offer a lot of flexibility. In case of Google Docs, they are organized as folders using "Labels".

    Compare Google Apps with Microsoft Office 365

    Google Apps has been helping small businesses and enterprises for several years now. It is a matured product now and offers world class services.

    Core services offered as part of Google Apps include:

    Google Mail (GMail)
    Chat (Google Talk)
    Google Docs

    Office 365 offer pretty much all of the above. One significant advantage I see is, Google Sites is a very limited web site builder, but gives the flexibility of using your own HTML to create custom web pages. In case of Office 365, you have Sharepoint which do not give much flexibility in web design, but allows you to add/edit/delete pages using the built-in template. The Sharepoint site in Office 365 is used more to organize your documents and not to design custom web pages.

    Office 365 and Google Apps - Feature Comparison table

    FeatureGoogleOffice 365
    One NoteNoYes
    Export documents to computerYesYes
    Import documents from computerYesYes
    Email ServicesIntegrated with GMailCustom Mail
    Free storageGoogle Docs allow you to store unsupported file types up to 1Gb. In case of supported document types, there is no total size limits, but there are some length restriction per document.Only paid services
    Free website builderBasic site builder and websiteSharepoint website with limited web design options
    ChatGoogle TalkLync
    LicensingFree limited edition, paid business editionNo free edition, options are small business edition and enterprise edition
    Integrated CalendarIntegrated Google CalendarNo integrated calendar
    Custom AppsYes, a lot!No custom application support yet
    Realtime collaboration of documentsYes, multiple people can work on same document online at the same time. And it works great.No realtime online collaboration.

    Google obviously offers much more flexibility and features at this time, but Microsoft is catching up fast. Microsoft has made strong efforts to catch up with most of features offered by Google Apps. Google will need to work hard to retain it's number 1 position in the market.

    Google Apps is free but Office 365 is not

    The biggest challenge to Office 365 is, Google Apps offers a free edition for small business and personal use. The free edition of Google Apps have pretty much everything a small business need. Microsoft will have a tough time competing with Google App's free services. The business users who are ready to pay the money for better services are going to be decide who will be the winner in the cloud market.

    Article by Tony John
    Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including,, and many more.

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