Many Cloud-based services fall into one of these categories:
- Productivity suites – Applications that help you be more productive
- Storage – Storing to and retrieving data and files from the Cloud
- Backup and Recovery – Backing-up data and being able to recover it
- Prevention – Prevent malware, typically spam and related components
- Search – Find items from either a holistic or from a specialty perspective
In this and upcoming issues, we’ll explore popular options within these categories and compare them with one another.
Probably the segment with the heaviest hitters, Microsoft and Google are battling for supremacy; Microsoft was late to the Cloud, but is ramping up nicely with its Cloud-services sales exceeding $1B/year. However, Google still owns this segment with an estimated 33% to 50% of Cloud-based, productivity-suite users, mostly on the strength of its free Google Apps and Google Apps for Education, but also with paid subscriptions to Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Government.
Microsoft built Office 365 on its popular, desktop-based, Microsoft Office suite which includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other applications. (The current versions are Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010, and Office 2013.) Microsoft Office users will find Office 365 familiar since most versions include the Microsoft Office suite, which can be downloaded to your PC and to other compatible devices.
Office 365 consists of these primary components:
- Exchange Online – Email, calendar, contacts, and tasks
- SharePoint Online – Document collaboration and management
- Lync Online – Online meetings with instant messaging and desktop sharing
- Office Web Apps – Cloud versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
Most versions of Office 365 also include:
- Office suite – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
- SkyDrive – Cloud storage of documents
Full-feature versions range from $96/user per year to $240/user per year. Microsoft now offers its E1 plan free to qualifying non-profit organizations.
Google Apps are, and always were, Cloud-based; they did not start as applications installed onto your computer. As such, they are easy to use and maintain and they work on a wide variety of devices, from PCs to tablets to smartphones. On the downside, due to this setup, they have some functionality and usage limitations when compared to Microsoft Office applications.
Google Apps for Business has a “one size fits all” approach; you get all the features at $50/user per year. Google Apps for Business includes:
- Gmail – Email with Google-powered search
- Calendar – Schedule meetings, share calendars, get reminders
- Drive – Store files in the Cloud and send files to colleagues
- Docs – Create, share, and work-on documents
- Sheets – Manage spreadsheet data
- Slides – Create presentations
Comparing Productivity Suites
Both Office 365 and Google Apps for Business provide desired applications that are somewhat easy to use; while Microsoft relies on its huge base of Office users to consider switching to Office 365, Google lures its users in with its free versions of Google Apps and Google Apps for Education and then provides a simple upgrade to the paid version of Google Apps for Business (or Google Apps for Government).
Basic reasons to choose Microsoft Office 365:
- Users are familiar and comfortable with Microsoft Office interface
- Multiple plan options exist to fit your needs and budget
- Greater functionality within applications
Basic reasons to choose Google Apps for Business:
- Relatively inexpensive with only one plan to select
- Low maintenance with no updating necessary
- Works over a wide range of devices
Get more Microsoft Office 365 versus Google Apps from our August newsletter atBryley.com — Bryley Tips & Information – August 2013