Microsoft 365 is the gold standard of email and office productivity software. And in more recent years, it’s collaboration tools have improved greatly. But they didn’t improve until Google kinda pushed them to.
This is Clickstarter, the Australian Digital Marketing podcast. I’m Dante St James.
You may have assumed that there was no option. There was either Microsoft Office or there was nothing. These days it’s called Microsoft 365 and it’s very impressive. But Google has its own equivalent productivity suite and it’s equally impressive.
Google Workspace was previously called GSuite. The most simple way to describe it as the Pro version of Gmail.
It starts with Google’s own business version of Gmail for your emails. It doesn’t matter what Microsoft does with Outlook, there is absolutely nothing that comes close to Google’s ability to filter out spam and junk email. It’s seriously good. I am hammered with hundreds of emails every week and it will only miss a junk email maybe once a week. Likewise, it will only tend to junk out an email maybe once a fortnight for me. And while I’ve been using paid Gmail for a decade, it’s always been like this.
Once you move beyond the basics of email, Google’s productivity apps are really simple to use and do a great job of replicating what the Microsoft versions do.
Docs is the Word equivalent. It’s like a scaled-back version of Word. It does everything you need 99% of the time and just skips the more advanced stuff. If all you do is write letters, make documents and like me, write scripts and eBooks, then Google Docs is more than adequate. And being an online tool it also makes it simple to share with other people who can actually work on the same document at the same time with you. The few things you miss out on in features from MS Word you make up for in ease of use and ease of sharing and collaboration.
Sheets is the Excel of the Google world. And like Docs, it’s a scaled-back version of Excel really. You can do all the same calculations and formulas, formatting, charts and cross-sheet connections as Excel, so there only a few little things that only highly advanced Excel users will miss.
Slides is the PowerPoint clone. And while the themes and templates might not be as amazing as Microsoft’s out of the box, there’s a huge gallery of themes used by other peoples that are free to use or have a low cost to add to your presentations. And you’ll notice an ongoing theme here, unless you are a super-advanced user of PowerPoint, you’re not going to miss anything in here.
On top of the basic apps, Google Workspace includes Google Forms so you can run surveys internally and eternally of your business. There’s Google Sites which lets you build your own private or public websites or even an Intranet. And then there’s Google Drive which is where you can store and organise all your files while only allowing certain people – or everyone if you like – access to those files and folders.
Price-wise, Google Workspace is a little less expensive than Microsoft 365. But it is made mostly for those who work with a constant internet connection as everything works in and stays in the cloud. That said, you can make some documents and files available offline using Google’s Chrome browser. It caches the things you want to work on in the browser, so you can do your updates without internet, and when you get a connection again, it will sync with the online version.
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