August 22, 2022
5 min read

Google Workspace vs Office 365: Which is better?

As a Google Cloud Partner, we’re often asked by customers, “Why Workspace and not Microsoft Office 365?”; "Give me a showdown. I want to know the difference - Google Workspace vs Office 365 - why do you guys prefer one over the other?"

It’s a question many businesses have trouble answering - so we’ve put Google Workspace and Office 365 head to head to help you decide which is best. The truth is, we could talk all day about this, so we’ve tried to summarise it into five main areas. 

First things first - what are Google Workspace and Office 365?

Both Workspace and MS Office 365 are suites of productivity tools that help you run business processes in the cloud - emails, calendars, file management, documents and video conferencing. Some rough equivalents of the key tools are below:

TaskWorkspaceOffice 365
File storageGoogle DriveMS OneDrive
Word processingGoogle DocsMS Word
SpreadsheetsGoogle SheetsMS Excel
PresentationsGoogle SlidesMS PowerPoint
CalendarGoogle CalendarMS Calendar
NotesGoogle KeepOneNote
Website buildingGoogle SitesSharePoint
Conference callingGoogle MeetMS Teams
Internal social networkingChat SpacesYammer
Digital whiteboard toolsJamboardWhiteboard

While they offer some similar tools, the use and functionality of these tools vary dramatically between Workspace and 365. Some of the key differences include:

Cloud Native

Workspace is cloud native whereas Office 365 is not. This means that Workspace was built in the cloud, for the cloud, while 365 is still using the same legacy toolset - that’s just been updated to allow for online use too. 

365 lacks collaboration functionality as a result of being adapted rather than built for the cloud whereas Google Workspace was built as a collaboration-focused solution from the ground up. Workspace has no confusing v1, v3 and v28 versions of documents where you have no idea which is the right one. There’s no time wasted uploading and downloading files in Workspace - everyone can work on the same version of documents with real-time collaboration and built in version history - while 365 users continuously have to save, download, attach and send.

In-browser Functionality

With Workspace, everything is done securely in the browser whereas 365 requires installed apps for full functionality.

With most 365 plans you get all the desktop versions of the Microsoft products (Word, Excel etc) but you’ll need to install them on your computer. You will get the cloud-based versions, but it’s fair to say that the online versions of Microsoft apps are nowhere near as sophisticated as the desktop versions. This ‘local install’ can also bring with it some hidden IT costs, which become more apparent the bigger your organisation - plus the time to download, install and periodically update the app correctly. Using locally installed applications also greatly increases the attack surface for hackers, as it means the whole desktop environment of each device needs to be protected, whereas with Workspace, everything is securely contained in the browser.

With Workspace, everything exists seamlessly in the cloud. It’s one full package and includes all the apps you need to run your business - Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Jams, Calendar Contacts, Chat, Meet, Voice, Vault, Device Management, AppSheet for custom business processes and Apps Script for automation.

The Workspace platform is also clean and intuitive - and loads much faster than Office desktop equivalents on a high-speed internet connection.

Secure by Design 

Google Workspace started in the cloud and runs on it, so they fully understand the security implications of powering your business in the cloud. Google’s enterprise services and Google itself run on the same infrastructure, so your organisation will benefit from the secure, reliable and compliant environment that Google built and uses every day.

In other words, Workspace is secure by design. It doesn’t require additional security solutions to protect your data, while 365 will still require additional spam filtering, anti-virus and anti-malware protection - and more. This can quickly increase costs, especially for organisations with 100+ seats. 

Automatic Saves

Workspace has a 99% uptime guarantee with everything kept up-to-date and saving automatically, while everyone’s familiar with the unfortunate downtime of 365. With Workspace, you can edit both Google Docs and MS Office file types in the browser, meaning one subscription is all you need - whereas 365 will only let you work with the latter.


Pricing changes a lot, so we’ll keep this blog section updated, but Workspace pricing is essentially fairly straightforward.

  • Business Starter — £4.14 per user per month — 30GB storage; capped at 300 seats; 100 participants on video calls
  • Business Standard — £8.28 per user per month — 2TB storage; capped at 300 seats; 150 participants on video calls
  • Business Plus — £13.80 per user per month — 5TB storage; capped at 300 seats; 500 participants on video calls

The cost of 365 is more complicated because there are home, business, enterprise, government, non-profit and education versions - but most SMEs will use one of the below.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic — £4.50 per user per month — 1TB storage; capped at 300 seats; 300 participants on video calls.
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business — £7.90 per user per month — 1TB storage; capped at 300 seats; 300 participants on video calls.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard — £9.40 per user per month — 1TB storage; capped at 300 seats; can host webinars. 
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium — £16.60 per user per month — 1TB storage; capped at 300 seats; can host webinars.

To get the best value out of Microsoft 365, you need to pay annually, whereas Workspace bills monthly. Workspace overall gives users more cloud storage space and is cheaper - especially when considering the additional security costs associated with 365.

Our Recommendation: Workspace vs Office 365

If you’ve made it to this point in the article, there’s probably no surprise that we’re 100% team Workspace! It’s efficient, secure and collaborative, and it’s the number one solution we recommend for our clients. 

But don’t take our word for it! From the large companies independently surveyed by Quadrant Strategies as part of a business impact report, they found that:

  • 68% of Google Workspace users say they enjoy work more since adopting Google Workspace. Only 30% of their 365 counterparts say the same. 
  • 75% of Google Workspace users say their company has become more innovative since adopting Google Workspace. Only 44% of their 365 counterparts said the same.

Curious to read more about this independent study? Download the full report here

If you want to find out more about moving to Google Workspace, get in touch with Cobry. We’ve got a full team of experts to simplify the process, and you’ll have efficient, collaborative cloud processes in no time.

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