A newer version of this blog article can be seen here

This is part one of a five part series on comparing the features & services in G Suite by Google versus those in Microsoft 365. To directly jump to the other blog articles in the series, select from the following:

  1. Which Cloud Office Suite Should Your Business Use?
  2. G Suite Basic vs Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  3. G Suite Business vs Microsoft 365 Basic Standard
  4. G Suite Enterprise vs Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  5. G Suite Enterprise vs Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3/E5 & Office 365 Enterprise E1/E3/E5

What is the purpose of cloud based business suites such as G Suite by Google and Microsoft 365?

G Suite by Google and Microsoft 365 (formerly Microsoft Office 365) are an integrated cloud based suite of collaboration and productivity apps for businesses. Both products have similar functionality in being able to create and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations while also allowing video calling and cloud storage, all backed by a powerful corporate email system. However, there are important differences in the products & individual services offered in each, which will be highlighted throughout these series of articles to help you determine which one is best suited for you and your business.

When selecting the version of the license you are about to purchase for each cloud business suite, it’s very important that you make an informed decision based on the pricing, quality, and quantity of the features and services that are available in each company suite version.

At my organization, Creospark, we specialize in helping organizations understand each cloud productivity license and associated features they are purchasing, and in turn helping them deploy and migrate to the services included with that license. For Microsoft cloud services, we also provide free 24 by 7 phone bilingual support to our customers when purchasing the licensing from us.

In this series of blog articles, we will compare various cloud based business suite license plans offered by both Google and Microsoft. We have strategically selected license plans from both Google and Microsoft that have similar feature sets in this series of blog articles. We will also show you the associated pricing so you can make the smart choice for your organization.

Please note, that this article has been created in August 2020, so it may be out of date as soon as Microsoft or Google alter their pricing or services.

Let’s start by outlining, describing and linking to some of the flagship offerings & services offered by both Google and Microsoft before we move onto the comparison:

G Suite by Google’s flagship offerings & services

  • Gmail – Secure business email that you can attach to your own domain name.
  • Calendar – Integrated online calendars designed for teams.
  • Google + (plus) – Social network that has now been shut down by Google.
  • Currents – Engage employees in this Enterprise Social platform. Have meaningful discussions. Stay current — together.
  • Meet – Secure video meetings for teams and businesses.
  • Chat – Simplify 1:1 and group messaging.
  • Docs – Word processing for teams.
  • Sheets – Collaborative, smart, secure spreadsheets for fast-moving organizations.
  • Slides – Beautiful presentations created together.
  • Forms – Easy to create surveys and forms for everyone.
  • Sites – Effortlessly create impactful team sites.
  • Drive – Store, access, and share your files in one secure place.
  • Keep – Keep organized. Capture inspiration and to-dos effortlessly. Collaborate on notes with teammates and set reminders to stay on track. Everything syncs across your devices, so what’s important is always in reach.
  • Admin – Manage G Suite for your organization.
  • Cloud – Meet your business challenges head on with cloud computing services from Google like cloud infrastructure and application hosting, multilayered security services intelligent analytics, & hybrid and multi-cloud capabilities.
  • Vault – Data retention and eDiscovery for G Suite.
  • Groups -This service controls whether users can access outside groups from their organization accounts on Google Groups. (groups.google.com). Outside groups are any groups outside of your organization, including consumer groups.
  • Cloud Identity – A unified identity, access, app, and endpoint. management (IAM/EMM) platform that helps IT and security teams maximize end-user efficiency, protect company data, and transition to a digital workspace.
  • Endpoint Management – Endpoint management for Android, iOS, Windows, Chrome OS, MacOS, and Linux is easy to set up and use.
  • Apps Script – Apps Script is the only low-code platform that makes it quick and easy to build business solutions that integrate, automate, and extend G Suite. With Apps Script, business users can build custom solutions on top of G Suite—no professional development experience required.
  • Cloud Search – Use the power of Google to search across your company’s content. From Gmail and Drive to Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and more, Google Cloud Search answers your questions and delivers relevant suggestions to help you throughout the day.
  • Work Insights – Understand how G Suite impacts your organization in real time. Surface insights on adoption, work patterns, and collaboration across different G Suite apps.

Microsoft 365 Suite flagship offerings & services

  • Outlook / Exchange Online – Work smarter, anywhere, with hosted email for business with advanced security capabilities, reliability, device agnostic, easy to maintain and use, data safeguards, eDiscovery, anywhere access and much more
  • Outlook Calendar / Exchange Online – Integrated calendars to create in person or online appointments and meetings, sharing calendars, searching calendars, overlaying calendars, group scheduling, calendars that are tied to other Microsoft 365 services such as SharePoint, Teams, delegation of calendars to admin, etc.
  • Yammer – Through Enterprise Social, improve engagement and enhance communication in your organization. Build communities of interest, gather ideas and feedback, and keep everyone informed, aligned, and moving forward with help from Yammer.
  • Skype for Business – Online meetings, chat, file sharing, and more replaced now with Microsoft Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams – Chat-centered workspace that helps team members achieve more together. Microsoft Teams serves as a hub for teamwork, providing instant access to chat conversations, content, and tools into a single workspace. SharePoint and OneNote are built in, and team members can work on Office documents right within the app. Aside from chats, Microsoft Teams also supports video calls and meetings to let teams meet live, whether on demand, or scheduled. Team members can easily collaborate with multiple teams and search across people, chats, and files anytime. Microsoft Teams works across Windows, Mac, web, Android, and iOS platforms.
  • Microsoft Word – Craft great-looking resumes, newsletters, and documents while inviting others to review and coauthor in real time. Plus, access free templates, formatting tools for APA, MLA, and Chicago style, and add functionality with free add-ins..
  • Microsoft Excel – Create, view, edit, and share your files with others quickly and easily. Create spreadsheets, data analyses, pivot tables, charts, budgets and more while you view and edit workbooks attached to all your Microsoft 365 services.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint – Enterprise slide designer for telling better stories – anytime, anywhere and with anyone to design and share your most impactful presentations.
  • Microsoft Forms – Microsoft Forms allows you to quickly and easily create custom quizzes, surveys, questionnaires, registrations, and more. When you create a quiz or form, you can invite others to respond to it using any web browser, even on mobile devices. As results are submitted, you can use built-in analytics to evaluate responses. Forms data, such as quiz results, can be easily exported to Excel for additional analysis or grading.
  • SharePoint Online– Share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information, and seamlessly collaborate across the organization. SharePoint empowers teamwork with dynamic and productive team sites for every project team, department, and division. Share files, data, news, and resources. Customize your site to streamline your team’s work. Collaborate effortlessly and securely with team members inside and outside your organization, across PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
  • OneDrive – Save your files and photos to OneDrive and access them from any device, anywhere. If you lose your device, you won’t lose your files and photos when they’re saved in OneDrive. Stay connected, share your documents and photos with friends and family, and collaborate in real time with Office apps.
  • OneDrive Sync Client – With OneDrive, you can sync files between your computer and the cloud, so you can get to your files from anywhere – your computer, your mobile device, and even through the OneDrive website at OneDrive.com. If you add, change, or delete a file or folder in your OneDrive folder or a SharePoint Online Library, the file or folder is added, changed, or deleted on the OneDrive / SharePoint Online website and vice versa. You can work with your synced files directly in File Explorer and access your files even when you’re offline. Whenever you’re online, any changes that you or others make will sync automatically.
  • OneNote – Get organized in notebooks you can divide into sections and pages. With easy navigation and search, you’ll always find your notes right where you left them. Revise your notes with type, highlighting, or ink annotations. With OneNote across all your devices, you’ll never miss a flash of inspiration.
  • Microsft 365 Admin – Manage applications, services, data, devices, and users across your Microsoft 365 services.
  • Microsft Azure Cloud – On-premises, hybrid, multicloud or at the edge – anyone can create secure, future-ready solutions. Hundreds if not thousands of cloud based services to manage workplace analytics, infrastructure, machine learning, apps, security, virtual desktops, virtual machines, AI, IoT and much more.
  • Microsoft 365 Security – Provide a friction-free experience so everyone can work securely from anywhere, on any platform. Empower your team against emergent cyber threats with machine learning and automation. Comprehensive suite of leading solutions is unified across people, devices, apps, and data.
  • Microsoft 365 Compliance, Information protection and governance – Identify risks by locating data and understanding how it’s used. Help safeguard data wherever it lives by configuring protection and retention labels. This includes services like Cloud App Security, Threat Management, Mobile Device Management, Data Loss Prevention, Information Barriers, Information Governance, Content Search, eDiscovery, Archiving Message Encryption, Privileged Access Management.
  • Microsoft 365 Groups – Groups in Microsoft 365 let you choose a set of people that you wish to collaborate with and easily set up a collection of resources for those people to share. Resources such as a shared Outlook inbox, shared calendar or a document library for collaborating on files. When creating a group you’ll need to decide if you want it to be a private group or a public group. Content in a public group can be seen by anybody in your organization, and anybody in your organization is able to join the group. Content in a private group can only be seen by the members of the group and people who want to join a private group have to be approved by a group owner. Neither public groups nor private groups can be seen or accessed by people outside of your organization unless those people have been specifically invited as guests.
  • Microsoft Endpoint Manager – Unified endpoint management helps users be productive wherever they are while keeping corporate information secure. A flexible management and security solution that let you deliver protected mobile experiences on any device. Microsoft Intune and Endpoint Configuration Manager (Configuration Manager), part of Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM), help simplify modern workplace management. Use them to create a productive Microsoft 365 environment where your users can work on the devices and apps they choose, while still protecting your org’s data.
  • Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate – Solve business challenges with low-code tools for your teams. Quickly automate your workflows, enable business logic to simplify tasks, and connect your processes with Microsoft Power Automate. Rapidly develop apps with Power Apps for use across devices, web sites and in Microsoft Teams. Connect to any data source for all of your forms and workflows.
  • Power BI – Infuse apps and processes with AI and insights from Power BI, Microsoft Graph, and cognitive services. Combine your existing Office investments with Power BI to work better and achieve more. Together. Get the data insights you need right inside the Office tools you use every day—without having to change applications. Safeguard your analytics data with protection that persists when exported to other Office formats, such as PowerPoint and Excel. If you know how to use Excel or PowerPoint, you’ll easily get started to find insights fast.
  • Microsoft Search – Enterprise search experience that increases productivity and saves time by delivering more relevant search results for your organization. Microsoft Search helps you find what you need to complete what you’re working on. Whether you’re searching for people, files, org charts, sites, or answers to common questions, you can use Microsoft Search throughout your workday to get answers. Microsoft Search helps users find the right answers, people, and content to complete their tasks in the app they’re already working in.
  • Microsoft MyAnalytics – Work smarter with personal productivity insights in Microsoft 365. Explore your work patterns with MyAnalytics and learn ways to work smarter—improving your focus, wellbeing, network, and collaboration. Receive AI-powered suggestions in Outlook from MyAnalytics to help you set aside focus time before your week fills up with meetings, stay on top of tasks and emails, and follow up with important people. Understand and improve your work patterns—gaining uninterrupted time to focus, being able to disconnect and recharge, and networking and collaborating effectively—with help from the MyAnalytics dashboard and weekly email digest. Only you can view personal data and insights based on work patterns in emails, meetings, calls, and chats. MyAnalytics is designed to protect your privacy.
  • Microsoft Bookings – Microsoft Bookings is an online and mobile app for businesses that want to provide services to customers on an appointment basis. Examples of such businesses include hair salons, dental offices, spas, law firms, financial services providers, consultants, healthcare practitioners, educational institutions and auto shops. Microsoft Bookings is available to customers in the U.S. and Canada who have an Microsoft 365 for business subscription.
  • MileIQ – The MileIQ app is an easy to use mileage tracker. Your miles are automatically logged and recorded creating a complete record of all your tax deductible and reimbursable mileage. MileIQ saves time by automatically classifying frequent drives on your behalf. The Work Hours feature makes it simple to set the times you work, including multiple shifts, and will automatically classify drives outside of those hours as personal. You always have the option to re-classify a drive if necessary from the web dashboard. MileIQ maintains an accurate record of your mileage. Use one tap on your mobile device to get a report of your current drive or a snapshot of many drives.
  • Microsoft Briefing email – The Briefing email helps users make the most of each day by helping them; Prepare for meetings by showing related tasks or relevant documents; Manage tasks identified from email that might be pending; Make the most of focus time by booking time on the calendar and muting notifications.
  • Microsoft Graph API – Use the Microsoft Graph API to quickly build apps that connect to a wealth of resources, relationships, and intelligence, all through a single endpoint: https://graph.microsoft.com. For example, you can build custom dashboards, workflows, and apps that retrieve data for your organization.
  • Microsoft Planner – Microsoft Planner is a tool that gives users a visual way to organize teamwork. Teams can create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what they’re working on, set due dates, and update status. Microsoft Planner also offers the ability to associate documents with specific tasks, edit them together, and have conversations around tasks.
  • Microsoft Project for the web – Project for the web is the most recent Microsoft offering for cloud-based work and project management. Project for the web provides simple, powerful work management capabilities to meet most needs and roles. Project managers and team members can use Project for the web to plan and manage work of any size.
  • Microsoft Stream – Microsoft Stream is an enterprise video service that people in your organization can use to upload, view, and share videos securely. You can share recordings of classes, meetings, presentations, training sessions, or other videos that aid your team’s collaboration. Microsoft Stream also makes it easy to share comments on a video and tag time codes in comments and descriptions to refer to specific points in a video.
  • Microsoft Shifts – Microsoft Shifts is a cloud-based application embedded in Microsoft Teams that lets workers and their managers use their mobile devices to manage schedules and keep in touch. Employees can use Shifts to request time off, trade shifts, and communicate with other employees. Employees can also send messages directly to each other or to the entire team. Managers can use Shifts to send messages, create schedules, and send team news or company announcements.
  • Microsoft Sway – Microsoft Sway is a professional digital storytelling app for business that helps you and your colleagues express ideas using an interactive, web-based canvas. Microsoft Sway’s built-in design engine helps you produce professional, visually-appealing reports, presentations, and more without the need for extensive formatting or additional training. You can also modify the results to get the unique look and feel you want. Microsoft Sway makes your creation look great in any browser on any screen, and it can be shared with colleagues and customers by simply sending a link. Microsoft Sway helps you find and pull together all sorts of content without leaving the app, so you can drag and drop your images, text, videos, and charts right on to your canvas.

Hopefully now you have a good understanding of what various different services are and how they correlate to one another for both G Suite by Google and Microsoft 365.

Next up, let’s move on to Part 2 of this blog series where we will specifically compare G Suite Basic vs Microsoft 365 Business Basic and the individual features and services you get for both.

Posted by: Noorez Khamis & Linda Chen

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