Office 365 or Google Apps?

Google Apps vs Office365

If you’re looking at buying some version of Office or using Google Apps, let’s take a few moments to talk about the differences. Let’s start by talking about how close both of these services are in pricing and capabilities. It is a very subtle difference between them, that you really have to look at what your needs are and then decide which product best serves them.

Google Apps vs Office365So let’s start with just talking about Microsoft’s Office programs. You have the CD you can buy and install on up to 5 computers or tablets. You also have Office 365 which gives you the ability to install Office locally, as well as have access to your programs and all files from any computer that has Internet access. Why is this difference significant? If you have an emergency, laptop is stolen, end up somewhere you need access to files but didn’t take your computer, etc you now have access to your documents (even from your smartphone or tablet).  Sure Google  products are online too, and to some extend can be used in offline mode. However the features of Google Apps in offline mode do not compare to the online version, or to Microsoft’s offline capabilities. One other point to note is that as Microsoft updates its software or releases new versions, Office 365 users have immediate access to these new versions. You don’t have to run out and purchase the product, it is right there for the downloading.

The privacy policies of each service are very different. It is well known that Google indexes your information through Gmail and other services, and Google Apps (even the paid version) is no  different. You can check out their privacy policy here and compare that to Microsoft’s privacy policy found here, which indexes nothing. Essentially, at some point, information that appears in one or some of your documents, without the appropriate security measures, can find itself indexed into Google’s search engine and made public. A big show stopper for many companies and individuals.

Next you have your online storage offerings. Office 365 includes 50GB of space and another 25 GB in Skydrive. Google offers 30GB of storage spread out among Google Drive,  Gmail, Picasa and other services (one universal storage location). The last major comparison which has been a showstopper for many companies and data driven individuals is the difference between Excel and Sheets, Google’s version of a spreadsheet application. A simple Google search will help you see that the abilities of Excel to process data, cross linking and other criteria leave Google’s product in the dust. Again, if you’re not worried about such things, you won’t notice the difference.

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