Difference Between Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs Suite

With the recent emergence of the cloud technologies, most enterprises are moving towards delivering products as services over the internet. It’s slowly becoming very common for most popular desktop applications to be offered as cloud based products and services. Google Docs Suite and Microsoft Office 365 are two of the more recent such cloud based products from two of the largest players on the market, who are trying to go one step above the other all the time. Google Docs Suite is a cloud based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) product developed by Google that offers a collection of applications such as a word processor, a spreadsheet application and a presentation maker. Microsoft Office 365 is a S+S (Software plus Services) developed by Microsoft that offers a series of Microsoft Office products (and many more) as services.

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is a commercial S+S (Software plus Services) developed by Microsoft. It was released to public on Jun 28, 2011 (after being announced in the autumn of 2010). It offers three subscription types and they are targeted for small businesses (with less than 25 professionals), midsize businesses (of all sizes) and education institutes (K-12 and higher education). It offers Microsoft Office suite of desktop applications (called Office Web Apps) along with the Microsoft’s Server products such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Lync Server, as hosted services.

Browser based versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint are offered as Office Web Apps. User can view and edit these Office documents (without loosing the original formatting) on the web. Furthermore, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Lync Online (based on the above three servers are also offered as products). Microsoft Exchange Online is a messaging and personal information manager. This offers 25 GB of storage for email, calendars and contacts with secure sharing capabilities, backup facilities and mobile connectivity (through Exchange ActiveSync). Microsoft SharePoint Online is a service dedicated for collaboration and sharing of web sites. Microsoft Lync Online features a large range of communication mediums such as IM, PC-to-PC calling and web conferencing.

Google Docs Suite

Google Docs Suite is a free cloud based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) product developed by Google that offers a collection of applications such as a word processor, a spreadsheet application and a slide show application. These documents can be saved to the local computer in many formats such as PDF and ODF. And they are automatically saved (with a revision history) to the Google Servers for the prevention of data loss. Offline access to these documents is not possible at the moment. It also offers a data storage and backup service (1 GB for free, and more storage for a fee). It allows the online creation and editing of documents and real-time collaboration/sharing with other Google Docs users.

What is the difference between Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs Suite?

Google Docs Suite is a Free SaaS office suite, while Microsoft Office 365 is commercial S+S (therefore can work offline, too). Understandably, Google Docs works best in Google Chrome browser, while Office 365 performs best in Internet Explorer browser. In terms of file fidelity, Office is better because it uses their own Microsoft documents, so the formatting issues do not arise like in Google docs. Real-time collaboration experience is better in Office 365 because of integrated IM, whiteboarding, etc. Office 365 is said to be more intuitive (e.g. auto adjusts the size of an image to fit the slide, which does not happen in Google Docs). However, In terms of cost, Google Docs is better for individuals and smaller companies, while Office 365 is preferable for large enterprise.