Review: Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office 365


Tech Impact compare's and contrast's these cloud computing and collaboration software tools to best fit your nonprofit's needs.

Pricing: Tie

  • Google for Nonprofits members are eligible for the free Nonprofit Edition of Google Apps.You will need to submit an existing Google Apps account to receive the Nonprofit Edition upgrade.
  • Qualified nonprofits can receive Office 365 Nonprofit E1 or Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials as a donation or they can upgrade to the advanced features in Office 365 Nonprofit E5, Office 365 Nonprofit E3, or Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium at a significant discount. Learn more about how Office 365 for Nonprofits can help your nonprofit communicate more efficiently, saving time and increasing productivity. 

Storage and Accessibility: Office 365

With the Google for Work plans, 30GB of cloud storage is available for the $5 plan. Accounts with at least five users for the $10 plan are given unlimited online storage. Office 365 clearly wins here as it offers 1TB (that's over 1 million MB's)  of storage even for its most basic plans. Both storage plans are expandable with additional costs. Google's Gmail and Microsoft's Outlook also have separate storage allocations for emails.

Accessibility is also where Office 365 trumps Google Apps. All Office 365 applications can be downloaded and installed to the users' desktop, while Google Apps are purely online-based. Both services have mobile applications for both iOS and Android users, with cross-platform syncing available.


Applications and Services: Office 365 Winner, Google Drive Not Far Behind

We are all relatively familiar with using the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). However, Google's Drive is not far behind as their apps (Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides) are continuously updated and offer an easy way to; share, collaborate and comment simultaneously with your team from anywhere. 

Additional applications such as note taking (OneNote for Office 365, Keep for Google Apps) and email management (Outlook and Online Exchange for Office 365, Gmail for Google Apps) also come in handy. However, Office 365's Outlook centralizes the users' calendar, contacts, and emails in one application, whereas Google Apps keep them separate. Office 365 also have unique applications for desktop publishing (Publisher) and database management (Access). Instant messaging and conferencing are available through Microsoft's Skype and Google's Hangouts, while online storage are managed through Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive.


Collaboration: Google Apps

As we just mentioned collaboration is the focal point of Google Apps.  Being purely online-based means everything and everyone is updated real time with changes and comments. The less feature-packed applications also give a distraction-free and a content-focused working environment, resulting to an easier learning curve. Office 365 on the other hand has evolved from standalone desktop suite to a productivity pack that has collaboration as one of its features. It is more suitable for individual work, where collaboration usually takes place separately.


Overall and Final Thoughts

These two productivity suites have their own advantages over the other. As Microsoft dominates the field with its feature-packed applications and services, where Google succeeds with it's online collaboration. If you have an Android device, it is difficult to resist using bundled apps with the Google-based system. However, Microsoft Office provides nonprofit's with cloud services and technologies that reduce their expenses, allow for more collaboration, and more productive work.

Choosing between the two is a matter of preference and necessity. However, prioritizing feature over collaboration, or the other way around, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice anything. Office 365 and Google Apps offer productivity experiences fit for a nonprofit to run at its best.


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