Microsoft O365 vs Google Workspace

We are a charity with accounts with both O365 and G-Workspace. We have been using O365 the past 5 years, but are hitting limitation with the free account. We’ve also found the management of O365/Azure to be quite frankly a nightmare.

We’re wondering what the advantages/disadvantages are of moving over to G-Workspace?

Office apps are not a necessity as we could use Google apps or Open Office. We’re a small charity with 2 full time workers and about 12 volunteers, all who need access.

If your users are used to Microsoft office tools, it’s better to use O365, imho. Switching to Google Apps is pretty easy for technically oriented people, but I’ve seen my fair share of users editing Powerpoint files locally and uploading them to Google Drive which is suboptimal.


Apart from that, managing Google Workspace is simple enough, I cannot compare with managing an O365 environment, but when I was the administrator of our G Suite corporate domain it was a piece of cake. Not really awesome, but simple and easy.

Migrating stuff from one place to the other can be tricky, there are tools that can do that but AFAIK they are not free.

I don’t know, what your organization is doing, but I wouldn’t ever trust Google with anything that might contain any kind of sensitive Data.

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The main thing people use are calendar and writing documents. Our finance uses excel although UK HMRC (tax) actually supplies all schedules as ODS files now. I looked at our O365 usage and half our users have not downloaded the apps and quite a number of our volunteers use android.

Surely Google Workspace is no better or worse the Microsoft O365?

I don’t know, if I would trust Microsoft in that Way, but Google and MS have in General tow different approaches for their Business-Model.
While MS is selling its products for a more or less high price, and making money from that, Google is offering its services in the Mainpart “for free”, and generates the Money it took, from working with the Data, the user is providing them.
And I know, that there is a price for Google Workspace, but I am not sure, that this is not mainly a little extra for Google, while they stay in general with their Business-Model.

Google Workspace isn’t Gmail. Like Microsoft’s they do advertise to their free customers, that’s the price we pay for the service they provide. Their commercial services are very different.

"Google processes your data to fulfill our contractual obligation to deliver our services. Google’s customers own their data, not Google. The data that companies, schools, and students put into our systems is theirs. Google does not sell your data to third parties. Google offers our customers a detailed Data Processing Amendment that describes our commitment to protecting your data.

Google Workspace and Cloud Identity offer the Data Processing Amendment (DPA), which incorporates standard contract clauses (SCCs), as a means of meeting the security, contracting and data transfer requirements under EU, UK and Swiss data protection laws. For customers with HIPAA compliance needs, Google offers a Business Associate Amendment."

(FYI - In the US HIPAA deals with “sensitive patient health information” and is closely regulated. As a result a lot of companies do not offer this service. Apple, for example, expressly forbids storing “protected health information” on iCloud.)

I researched both Google and Microsoft in 2018 and my company decided to use Google to replace our on premises email system. But Microsoft would have also been a good fit for us.

I chose GW for my personal domains. But I’d suggest you do your own research and make your selection based on the facts, not my opinion.

Nonprofit Management Resources - Google for Nonprofits

Customer Success Stories | Google Workspace

Government Program Solutions for Collaboration | Google Workspace


Is iWork not an option?

Since it looks like you’ll be paying something anyways, you might want to look at Microsoft 365 Basic for your users that don’t need Excel and Microsoft 365 Standard for those that do.

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This is correct. Google does not use Google Workspace data -for paid accounts, that is - for advertising. Of course your browsing history (and your usage of other Google services like Maps, or Youtube) will still be used, though.

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I have seen a fair share of people swearing when using Google Slides or Google Sheets instead of Powerpoint or Excel. --specially business strategy consultants using the later. Google Apps are adequate and capable but if you are an Office power user it will take a little. For basic usage, it may take less effort to adapt.

Also to note, Google Apps can happily import Microsoft Office files and I’ve not seen that many issues when doing that, but when editing the imported files Google will convert them to its native format.

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(I meant to quote the comment about never trusting Google with their data, ever - but didn’t do it right and am on a plane, so sorry…)

This is the standard Apple line. And I am now fully ensconced in the ecosystem (2 Macs, 2 iPads, iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods Pro, and Apple TV!). But as a former Android user, and continued google/gmail user since about 2009 (who has never knowingly experienced any ill effects of his googled life), is there any actual evidence that users have widespread deleterious effects from using google? Or is this just oft-repeated but rarely proved?

Yes. They are clear about the differences between free and paid services.

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For free Google accounts, if you exclude being segmented, targeted and retargeted beyond exhaustion by advertising campaings, I am not aware of any relevant data leaks from Google. This would seriously impact their business.

Also, Google does not do “adult sites”, nor does it allow for micro-targeting users (a “segment of one”). Apart from that, of course there will be cases when under law request Google has given access to user communications.

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I’m a trustee of a small, local charity in Scotland (a SCIO). We use Google workspace through their Google for Non-Profits programme. It’s free and more than adequate for our needs. Gmail works just fine, as does Drive and the various apps we use (principally Docs and Sheets) on a mixture of personal computers Mac, iPad, Windows, Android and Chromebook). Admin is pretty easy and the online chat support has been excellent on the few occasions I’ve needed to use it. I have one or two quibbles with things like the lack of a shared address book, but that could well be my lack of knowledge rather than an outright deficiency. For a small group (we have 12 users) I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.