Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 are the two undisputed market leaders in cloud office suites. If your real estate firm has narrowed it down to these two, you still have a complex decision on your hands. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the differences between the products and give our verdict on which suite is better by a few different metrics.
One of the first areas to consider, of course, is what these suites can do for you. Both suites offer your basic Office experience: you can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with ease. Because these are cloud services, you can collaborate in real time with coworkers right inside the files.
This collaboration works similarly in both suites. You can edit documents with track changes enabled (called “suggest” mode in G Suite) and comment in the margins with questions for follow-up.
Google’s collaboration tools are light and nimble. They just work, but they lack the depth you’ll find in Office 365. Microsoft is late to the game in real-time collaboration, but their (linear) collaborative tools have been around for quite some time and are well developed. With the addition of real-time collaboration in Office 365, we think Microsoft has the edge in this category.
Conclusion: Both suites do collaboration well, but Office 365 has deeper features—provided it’s set up properly.
App offerings is the area with the biggest differentiation between G Suite and Office 365. Office 365 is built on the venerable legacy of Microsoft Office. The core programs have been in use for over 30 years. They are feature-rich, well built, and industry standard. Google’s versions of these programs are respectable, but they don’t have the breadth or depth of Microsoft’s offerings.
Another consideration is that G Suite doesn’t offer a desktop app. On your work computer, you can only use Google Docs, Google Sheets, and others within a web browser. For some users this is no big deal. Others prefer the permanence and power of a local desktop app.
Conclusion: If you’re doing heavy, in-depth work in your Office suite programs, or if you need or want desktop applications, Microsoft is the choice for you. If your business doesn’t need all that, then G Suite’s web interface and mobile apps are likely a fine choice.
Most of the core applications in one suite have a correlating application in the other. Google Docs and Word, Sheets and Excel, Slides and PowerPoint—you get the idea. This doesn’t hold true through the entirety of the suite, though. For example, OneNote and Teams are separate Microsoft apps. Google suggests Google Keep as a replacement for both, but the functionality isn’t exactly the same. If your real estate firm already relies heavily on a specific feature in one of the two suites, make sure a suitable replacement exists in the competitor before switching.
Microsoft has been developing new Office applications and add-ins at a fast clip lately. Apps like Stream, Yammer, and Visio don’t have any G Suite competitor.
Conclusion: It depends on what you want. Office 365 has more apps, but you might not ever use them. Google has Keep, which you may love or hate (or again, not use at all).
With G Suite, you’re essentially getting a business-branded Gmail experience. The Gmail app is well built, and the web interface works well for most people’s personal use. With Office 365, you get the Outlook experience. Recently rebuilt Outlook Mobile is a very well designed app, and the desktop Outlook client has powerful business features (labeling and sorting to name a couple).
Conclusion: It’s hard to beat the functionality of desktop Outlook. Gmail’s web interface hardly compares. If you’re choosing a Microsoft package that includes desktop apps, Office 365 is the clear winner.
G Suite wins as far as pricing is concerned. Pricing is simple and transparent, and the cheapest package comes in cheaper than Office 365’s cheapest offering. G Suite’s basic package is $5 per user per month, billed monthly. Higher tiers are $10 and $25. (Note: prices in USD.)
Microsoft’s pricing scheme is a mess. They too offer a $5 tier, but it doesn’t include desktop apps. The $8.25 plan does. A dozen or more plan stagger upward from that price point.
Conclusion: G Suite wins on simplicity and transparency.
If your real estate firm wants only lightweight applications that “just work” or if price is the biggest concern, G Suite is the choice for you. If you’re looking for a feature-rich desktop experience, choose Office 365.