Google Docs vs Microsoft Office
Little Known Fact about MS Office
MS bills its “Office 365” as a “cloud suite”. Actually, it includes the regular old desktop programs of Office 2016 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and in some versions Outlook).
In a 2016 review of Google’s G Suite business subscription service, Eric Grevstad of PC Magazine stated that Google Docs follows the “80/20” rule: “that is, 80 percent of users will never need more than 20 percent of the features”.
I would like to modify that somewhat. While he says “will never need” I think that’s a stretch. I think it’s more accurate to say “80 percent of the time users will only need 20 percent of the features.” The way this new view plays out, is that if you use Google Docs, once a year or so, you will run into a situation in which you need features Google Docs does not offer. That’s more what I experience from users in real life.
ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – Comprehenive Advanced Features
As I said in the “Summary” above, if you use Google, once a year or so, you will need some more complex / advanced feature that is in Microsoft Office but not Google Docs.
There’s always a workaround, with some additional effort and inconvenience.
(slight) ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – privacy
Educated guess, but I believe MS Office protects your privacy more than Google.
Here’s my reasoning. These aren’t proofs–just educated guessing and reasoning.
ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – offline and alternate cloud storage
Since MS Office 365 (or the desktop apps) run on your desktop, you can be fully operational without an internet connection. Eg, on a plane. Or the day that your ISP goes down. Or if the power goes out (assuming you have laptop battery to keep working, and assuming you don’t have battery backup or generator backup for your internet connection).
Offline, desktop acces model in MS Office also means you can use them with almost any cloud storage (Dropbox, Box.com, SugarSync) in addition to MS’s own OneDrive.
That is *IF* those services have a ‘local sync’ feature. All of those I listed do. (This local sync feature sync’s a folder on your desktop to the cloud. Changes you make in the cloud are replicated on your local disk. Changes you make on your local disk–with desktop Office 2016, for example–are mirrored in the cloud.)
Can not do that with Google Docs because there is no way to work on local files.
You can download offline files out of Google Docs, for storage and back. And you can edit them locally. With what? MS Office? Might as well have just used MS Office in the first place.
You could edit them with the free LibreOffice and get close to the MS Office experience. The disadvantage is that you’re working in two different interfaces, and LibreOffice is not quite as powerful as MS Office.
Or using only the Chrome Browser, and a Chrome extension “Google Docs Offline” you can edit offline with Google.
ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – printing
in Google Docs, if in Firefox or Internet Explorer, you have to dowload as a PDF to print. Using the browser print will make it print like a web page, not a document.
In the Chrome browser (only) Google Docs print normally.
Reports (I can’t confirm) that advanced printing is not available in Google Docs (but they’re upgrading all the time).
ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – upload limit
50MB (was: 2MB) upload limit for Google Docs (no limit once in Google Drive online cloud storage)
(slight) ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – huge size
Google Docs can’t handle HUGE data sets, eg, > 2 million (was: 400K) cells in a spreadsheet.
ADVANTAGE GOOGLE – FREE!
By far the biggest difference between the two is that Goodle Docs is FREE. You pay for that with Google scanning your docs and providing that info to advertisers so that they can target ads to you. But Microsoft is still doing at least some of that.
ADVANTAGE GOOGLE – “Explore”
GDocs new “Explore” feature
NO LONGER ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – columns and image editing
NO LONGER ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – mail merge
You didnt used to be able to do mail merge in Gmail+Docs. Now you can.
NO LONGER ADVANTAGE MS OFFICE – add-ons
Before that, only MS Office had add-ons.
NO LONGER ADVANTAGE GOOGLE – real-time simultaneous co-authoring
Until MS Office v2016 MS Office did not provide real-time simultaneous co-authoring (unless you used Enterprise SharePoint).
By this I mean 2+ people working on the same document at exactly the same time with each seeing the other’s edits in real-time as they happen, letter by letter.
Before v2016 MS had less helpful co-editing techniques.