Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A comparison

Google Workspace or Microsoft 365? When choosing a productivity software, there are conflicting views. With their Office line, Microsoft has been offering a proven software package for everyday office use for years in the form of Microsoft 365.

Fact

Both Google’s product and Microsoft’s solutions have changed their names. For example, not too long ago people were asking themselves: G Suite or Office 365? Despite the name changes, usually little has changed with the software itself.

With its file hosting services Drive and Google Docs, Google has initially established itself as a free alternative to the Microsoft product range. This is primarily aimed at private users. Google Workspace is meant to meet the demands of business customers and establish itself in this area as a serious competitor to Microsoft 365. But how does Google Workspace hold up in a direct comparison to the market leader?

Short introduction: Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace

The Office products from Google and Microsoft both follow the same approach, which is that companies should be able to complete as many tasks as possible with solutions from the suites without having to resort to using apps from other providers. The individual programs usually work together seamlessly to guarantee a smooth workflow.

Microsoft 365

Many PC users will already be familiar with many applications from the Microsoft 365 suite. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are some of the most well-known programs in the world and are part of the standard equipment in many offices. Microsoft 365 enables software solutions to be used in the cloud. This simplifies working on the go and transforms traditional office applications into modern collaboration tools.

Advantages Disadvantages
✔ Popular Office applications ✘ Complex licensing system
✔ Cloud and desktop solutions  
✔ Extensive opportunities for collaboration  
✔ Cloud storage included  

Google Workspace

Google has been offering more than just its search engine for a while now. Office solutions were also part of its product portfolio relatively early on. Back then, Google was actually one of the first to offer spreadsheets, word processing, and the ability to create presentations via a web application in the browser. By integrating Gmail and Google Drive, the individual programs in the meantime, it has grown into a comprehensive suite that is completely in the cloud.

Advantages Disadvantages
✔ Device-independent operation ✘ No desktop version
✔ Professional email domain included in Gmail  
✔ Extensive opportunities for collaboration  
✔ Cloud storage included  

Google and Microsoft cloud solutions compared

With the productivity software Google Workspace, Google is targeting the business segment – a declaration of war to market leader Microsoft and their competitor product Microsoft 365. We compare both products with regard to the following aspects:

  • App features
  • Cloud storage
  • File sharing
  • Collaboration
  • Email
  • Security
  • Data protection
  • Availability
  • Support
  • Pricing

This article was last updated in May 2021.

Tip

Microsoft 365 can be booked through IONOS including 24/7 expert support.

App Offers

If you look at the of the two business app packages’ product portfolios, you can see the scope of functions is largely the same. Basically, Google is offering a comparable alternative for every Microsoft 365 app.

Function Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Word processing Microsoft Word Google Docs
Spreadsheet calculation Microsoft Excel Google Sheets
Presentations Microsoft PowerPoint Google Slides
Email Microsoft Outlook Gmail
Digital notebook Microsoft OneNote Google Keep
Web hosting Microsoft Sharepoint Google Sites
Video conferencing Skype for Business Google Meet  
Instant messaging services, group chats Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams Google Chat
Chat-based workspaces Microsoft Teams Google Chat
Social media for companies Yammer Google Currents

However, a unique feature of Microsoft’s product is the download option. All Microsoft 365 business apps listed above are also available as desktop versions if required and can be installed directly from the cloud on local devices (depending on the selected product plan) and, if possible, used offline.

Tip

Google Workspaces also offers offline functions for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides - not in the form of a desktop app, but as a feature of the web application. The prerequisite for this is the use of the Chrome web browser, including an extension for offline operation.

Feature Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Office applications as web apps Yes Yes
Offline operation possible Yes Yes

Cloud storage & file sharing

Cloud solutions like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace score points in the corporate context mainly through central data storage on the Internet.

Microsoft relies on the file hosting service OneDrive for Microsoft 365. Google Workspace users have access to the Google Drive cloud storage platform with an extended storage quota.

While Microsoft provides all Microsoft 365 users with 1 terabyte (TB) of cloud storage, the storage volume with Google Workspace depends on the product version: Between 30 GB and 5 TB per user can be purchased. The Enterprise version even includes unlimited storage.

Both Microsoft and Google provide the ability to synchronize cloud storage with a device. Files and file folders stored online can also be made available offline if required.

When it comes to managing files stored online, both cloud storage solutions score highly with a wide range of functions. Practical features for day-to-day business include the versioning and sharing functions, which allow users to share files with people inside or outside their organization at the click of a mouse – with a time limit if required.

Google Workspace offers a search function based on NLP (Natural language processing) that covers all applications.

Feature Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Storage capacity per user license 1 TB Depending on version 30 GB, 1 TB or unlimited
Synchronization Yes Yes
Versioning Yes Yes
File sharing via link including expiration date Yes Yes
Search function Yes NLP supported

Collaboration tools

As collaboration platforms, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace provide powerful tools for communicating and collaborating with colleagues, customers, and business partners.

Both solutions offer video telephony and instant messaging, as well as collaborative editing of text, spreadsheets, and presentations in the cloud.

Google’s answer to Skype for Business is the video conferencing service Google Meet. Google Chat also provides users with a communication platform for direct messaging and group conversations.

Corporate websites and other intranet applications can be implemented just as professionally with Google Workspace as with Microsoft 365. Google uses an intuitive template system with limited scope for design with sites. Microsoft SharePoint, on the other hand, is less intuitive, but offers significantly more possibilities for the implementation of company-internal web applications.

With Yammer and Google Currents, both vendors offer cloud solutions that enable internal and cross-company social networks.

Feature Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Business suitable appointment and contact management Yes Yes
Joint editing of texts, tables and presentations Yes Yes
Video calls Yes Yes
Instant messaging Yes Yes
Group chats Yes Yes
Video conferencing Yes Yes
Internal company websites/Intranet Yes Yes
Social media for companies Yes Yes

E-mail

Both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer enterprise-class professional email features, including a calendar and address book.

Microsoft 365 users manage their email traffic either in the Outlook email client program, or in Outlook on the web browser application – or the mobile device if required. In Google Workspace, email management is offered through the app Gmail, which also forms the basis of the freemail product of the same name.

Unlike the free Google account, Gmail is available to Google Workspace users with an ad-free user interface and individual email domain. With Microsoft 365, the individual email domain is only possible in a roundabout way.

Feature Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Ad free Yes Yes
Own email domain included No Yes
Mobile app Yes Yes
Desktop mail client inclusive Depending on the plan No
Email alias Yes Yes
Groups/email distributors Yes Yes

Security & privacy

Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 – which product is more secure? Both products are designed for enterprise customers whose business processes are subject to strict compliance guidelines regarding eavesdropping security and data protection.

Both providers rely on solid encryption technologies for data storage in the data center, as well as for data transmission between client and server.

In addition, both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace have been designed to meet key industry standards and regulations for secure data processing.

  • Both platforms are certified according to international standards for information security, cloud security, and cloud data protection according to ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27017, and ISO 27018.
  • All Microsoft cloud services meet the Service Organization Controls Operational Security Standards (SOC 1, 2 and 3), which cover annual controls for data security, availability, integrity processing, and confidentiality. Google Workspace is also SOC 2 and 3 certified.
  • As participants in the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), both vendors have undergone an evaluation and approval process that qualifies their cloud products for use in U.S. government agencies.
  • To ensure secure processing of credit card transactions, both cloud platforms support the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
  • All cloud tools in the Microsoft product range as well as Google solutions are aligned with HIPAA. The U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act provides strict rules for handling patient data.

Both Microsoft and Google have privacy measures in place that provides companies with a GDPR compliant service.

Note

Further information on compliance issues can be found on the Microsoft and Google support pages.

Feature Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Data encryption Yes Yes
ISO/IEC 27001 (Information security) Yes Yes
ISO/IEC 27017 (Cloud security) Yes Yes
ISO 27018 (Cloud privacy) Yes Yes
SOC 1 Yes No
SOC 2 Yes Yes
SOC 3 Yes Yes
FedRAMP Yes Yes
PCI DSS (Security standard for credit card transactions) Yes Yes
HIPAA Yes Not all applications

Availability and support

Like the Microsoft Cloud, Google Workspace guarantees 99.9 percent availability for users. The service teams on both platforms can be reached around the clock by telephone, email, or chat.

Feature Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Availability 99.9 % 99.9 %
24/7 support Yes Yes
Telephone Yes Yes
Chat/Email Yes Yes

Packages

Google offers Workspace in three versions:

Google Workspace version Functional scope
Business Starter Office suite with 30 GB of storage space
Business Standard Optimized Office suite with 2 TB of storage space
Business Plus Premium Office suite with extended functionality, 5 TB storage, and archiving function

Google also offers an Enterprise version for large companies. It is worth mentioning that there is unlimited storage space in this version.

Microsoft offers entrepreneurs a wider product range. A total of three product plans with different functional ranges are available for business use.

Microsoft 365 with IONOS!

Experience powerful Exchange email and the latest versions of your favorite Office apps including Word, Excel and PowerPoint on any device! 

Office Online
OneDrive with 1TB
24/7 support
Microsoft 365 versions Functional scope
Microsoft 365 Business Basic All Office applications as web versions as well as Exchange, OneDrive, Sharepoint, and Teams.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard All Office applications as web and desktop versions as well as OneDrive, Sharepoint, and Teams.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium All Office applications as web and desktop version as well as Exchange, OneDrive, Sharepoint, Teams. Additional: Intune & Azure Information Protection

Conclusion: All product features at a glance

Google Workspace is a worthy competitor on the market leader in all relevant areas. Online, the Microsoft cloud service hardly offers a feature that is not available with Google. Only users who prefer to work with a desktop application rather than a web browser are better off with Microsoft 365.

App feature Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
App features    
Word processing Microsoft Word Google Docs
Spreadsheet calculation Microsoft Excel Google Sheets
Presentations Microsoft PowerPoint Google Slides
Email Microsoft Outlook Gmail
Digital notepad Microsoft One Note Google Keep
Web hosting Microsoft Sharepoint Google Sites
Video conferencing Skype for Business Google Meet
Instant messaging service, group chats Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business Google Chat
Chat-based workspace Microsoft Teams Google Chat
Social Media for companies Yammer Google Currents
Office applications as web apps Yes Yes
Offline operation possible Yes Yes
Cloud storage & file sharing Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Storage capacity per user license 1 TB Depending on the plan 30 GB, 1 TB, 5 TB or unlimited
Synchronization Yes Yes
Versioning Yes  
File sharing via link including expiration date Yes Yes
Search function Yes NLP supported
Collaboration Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Business suitable appointment and contact management Yes Yes
Joint editing of texts, tables, and presentations Yes Yes
Video calling Yes Yes
Instant messaging Yes Yes
Group chats Yes Yes
Video conferencing Yes Yes
Internal company websites/Intranet Yes Yes
Social Media for companies Yes Yes
Email Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Ad free Yes Yes
Includes your own email domain No Yes
Mobile app Yes Yes
Desktop mail client included Depends on plan No
Email aliases Yes Yes
Groups/Email distributors Yes Yes
Security & data security Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
Data encryption Yes Yes
ISO /IEC 27001 (Information security) Yes Yes
ISO /IEC 27017 (cloud security) Yes Yes
ISO 27018 (cloud privacy) Yes Yes
SOC 1 Yes No
SOC 2 Yes Yes
SOC 3 Yes Yes
FedRAMP Yes Yes
PCI DSS (security standard for credit card transactions) Yes Yes
HIPAA BAA Yes Not all applications
Support & availability Microsoft 365 Google Workspace
High availability 99.9 % 99.9 %
24/7 support Yes Yes
Telephone Yes Yes
Chat/Email Yes Yes

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