Please enable javascript to view this page in its intended format.

Queen's University

Microsoft versus Google


While the Microsoft Office 365 and Google App suites offer comparable feature sets, reliability and security, the implementation of Microsoft Exchange as the on-premise email solution for staff, faculty and graduate students in Spring 2012 tipped the balance here at Queen's. Because of the complementary infrastructure of the two Microsoft offerings, in choosing O365 for students, migrating accounts will be more seamless from Exchange to the cloud (or the reverse) in order to accommodate the changing status of our many stakeholders (e.g. when an undergraduate student becomes a graduate student).


Feature Set Comparison - Office 365 versus Google


Criteria assessed on a scale of 0-5 where 5=Great and 0=Not Available. In some instances there may be third party plugins available to satisfy unsupported functionality identified below.


Feature set Google O365 Explanation Source
Email 5 5 Appear to have near identical feature sets
Calendaring 3 5 Microsoft better for large institutions. Scheduling, tasks, integration better in Microsoft. Tech Republic, "Google Apps v. Office 365: Calendar features"
Word processing 3 5 Most users much more familiar with Microsoft office

Tech Republic, "Google Apps v. Office 365: Comparison chart" 

Spreadsheets &

Breadth of

spread sheet functionality

3 5 Most users much more familiar with Microsoft office Cell selection and formula editor is lacking in Google

Tech Republic, "Google Apps v. Office 365: Comparison chart"


Forms creation
5 0

Only third party support

available for creating forms for Microsoft 365 (i.e. Google Docs)

Google Support
Office 365 Community

Chart creation 5 4

Limited options within Excel web app

Microsoft Introduction to Excel
Google Apps Training Center
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari 5 5 Both compatible Office 365 vs. Google Docs Showdown: Feature by Feature 
Compatible with Internet Explorer 3 5

Some features for Google apparently not compatible

Office 365 vs. Google Docs Showdown: Feature by Feature 


Processing document fidelity between Office and web-based service

3 5

Some formatting may change in

Google Docs from Word

Word Web App vs. Google Documents 
Document collaboration and sharing 5 5

Sharepoint in Office 365
Cloud Connect from Google


SharePoint and Assessment Blog 

Shared work space capabilities 5 5

Only issue with sharing using Google Cloud Connect is being unable to

edit .docx file in the browser.

YouTube: Introducing Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office 
Blackberry, iPhone, Android compatibility 5 5

See source for mobile support summary.  Availability of blackberry compatibility was unclear at first, so a question posed and answered on Microsoft forum. See second source


ActiveSync versus Google Sync 3 5 The Google Tasks system has less features than the Microsoft equivalent. Google Tasks is more of a simple check list. Google Support
Tasks 3 5

The Google Tasks system has less features than the Microsoft equivalent. Google Tasks is more of a simple check list.

YouTube: Getting Organized with Google Tasks
Contacts 5 5 Comparable

Mobile document editing 2 2

Office 365 document editing currently only supported on Windows Phone and Symbian. Editing Google Docs may be possible with Third-party apps.  Google Docs system moving to Google Drive, which supports creating new documents on mobile devices, but not editing existing documents in the drive.

User-initiated self-service remote device wipe 5 5 Available on both Google: Remote Wipe a Mobile Device
Offline access/editing 5 5

Offline editing available with Sharepoint for Office 365, using Google Cloud Connect for Google

Storage size 5 5 Both are 25Gb
Email attachment size 5 5

Both are 25Gb

IMAP email client compatibility 5 5 Both compatible
Calendar client compatibility 5 5

Google Calendar compatible with Outlook and iCal 365 Compatible with Outlook (and iCal)

About Google Calendar
Audio, video and web conferencing 5 5 Online conferencing with desktop sharing Google Talk/Group video chat in Google + Microsoft - Compare Plans 
Personal website support 5 5

Google Sites.  Powered by Sharepoint online for Office 365

Content management 3 5 Google doesn't have hierarchical folders because they have labels. Which means emails may exist in multiple places accidentally.


Text Messaging
4 3 Google apps have text messaging, 365 allows text messages to be stored as emails in your inbox
Office and PDF document conversion to HTML for browser-based viewing 4 4

Google Docs opens PDFs and office documents in browser, with some possible loss of formatting.  Office 365 support for PDF seems unreliable, but office compatibility with web apps is good.

Microsoft - troubleshooting forum
Instant messaging and presence integration 5 5

Ability to view shared calendars 5 5


Microsoft - Managing calendars with Office 365
Google - Share calendars with individuals, groups, and more
Support for Mail Tips, conversation threading and ignore button 3 5




Updated September 2012



Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6 613.533.2000