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Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365: Which one should SMBs choose?

Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365: Which one should SMBs choose?

Microsoft has long been dominating the field where once even running a business without it just didn’t seem plausible. Everything businesses used, whether it was email, writing documents, or spreadsheets — it all needed to be Microsoft. And it was. All throughout the ‘90s and early '00s, it was a Microsoft-centric world. But it’s not that kind of a world anymore.

When it comes to productivity tools, Microsoft’s Office suite has been a leader for decades and still is a choice for more than 258 million organizations. And then we have Google.

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides came as the main contenders and noteworthy alternatives to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. There are other tools in Google’s stack that stand head to head with Microsoft’s, but the point is clear — both want to be the main stop for business productivity tools. 

We are excited to share our client’s experience with migrating off on premise Microsoft to the Cloud on Google. In the information to follow we will explore the background, benefits and practices of this migration. Our customers who have switched never looked back and are glad to have ripped off the band aid!

Google Workspace has passed 6 million paying customers in 2020 showing a rapid growth from 5 million in 2019. More and more startups, schools and SMBs are turning away from Microsoft and making their way to Google. Why is this happening? In this first part of the series, we will attempt to answer this question.

Benefits of migrating to Google Workspace for SMBs

A long time ago, it was called Google Apps, then later Google for Work, with a change to the name we all know — G Suite, and finally, with their newest rebranding, we have Google Workspace. There are mixed feelings about the newest rebrand, mostly visual, but Google’s objective behind the change is an important one in the increasingly connected world we live in. The concept behind the Google Workspace rebrand revolves around collaboration and teamwork. This can be considered as their main hallmark in the battle for dominance over the business productivity domain. But that’s not all that Google Workspace offers. Let’s examine its benefits for SMBs more closely. 

Increased collaboration

Have you noticed that you don’t really know a young person that uses Microsoft 365? Young people simply love Google and it’s not only them — startups do too. The team spirit and need for collaboration in this top Google user base is exactly what they get.

Google Workspace apps are completely cloud-based and from their start, the focus has been on making sharing and communication in a team easy and quick. Microsoft 365 does allow users to collaborate on documents, but the collaboration just doesn’t come naturally as it does with Workspace. Comparing the experience of commenting or going into “Suggesting mode” in Google Docs with collaboration in Microsoft Word paints a clear picture of the collaboration capabilities in the two solutions. 

Google Workspace acts as a real-time collaboration. Be it working on the same Doc, Sheet or Slide, multiple users can work on them at the same time, with revisions shown in real-time and the team has better control over what changes were made, when and by whom. With remote teams becoming widespread, nothing can beat the real-time collaboration Google Workspace offers. 


When running a startup or a SMB, it’s all about getting the most functionality and return on your investment. In terms of functionality, the comparable tiers of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are Google's Business Standard and Microsoft's Business Standard. The difference is the price. Additionally, when it comes to cloud storage for the price, higher plans of Google Workspace offer 2-5 TB of storage per user and even unlimited storage in the Enterprise plan. 


SMBs and startups have distinct requirements for their productivity tools, while enterprises are those that need more advanced and complex solutions. For SMBs, the focus is on having a streamlined environment and an easy-to-use interface, with minimal onboarding time.

While familiarity and wider use might be on Microsoft’s side, their feature-heavy nature can make them overwhelming for beginners and those that need basic functionalities. Just think of a time when you accidentally didn’t save a file in Word and went through hell and back to recover it. With Google Docs that can’t happen. The auto-save feature specifically allows for documents to be saved even before it gets named, so all documents are always up-to-date. From a functionality standpoint, Google Workspace allows users to get the work done and not waste time on figuring out how to get it done.


Google Workspace is built on top of Google Cloud Platform which offers unparalleled security. Built with a security-first mindset, Workspace offers features for admins to control how data is protected, control mobile devices, block users from using less secure apps, as well as providing email encryption in transit, and the ability to retain data. It even doesn’t miss addressing privacy concerns: Google doesn’t collect or use data in Google Workspace for advertisement purposes and you will never find any ads in Workspace products. 

The most impactful feature we’ve seen in Workspace is the built in Spam filtering. With email being the most common attack vector for Ransomware attacks, effective Spam filtering is vital. With Microsoft you need to purchase a bolt-on service to handle your Spam filtering. Plus, this is another financial reason to choose Google.

For startups and SMBs, having this kind of security control while remaining intuitive and user-friendly comes through as the best option.

Should your business migrate to Google Workspace?

Google Workspace comes out as a distinct winner for SMBs looking to streamline their productivity tools and increase collaboration. The intuitive design and easy-to-use interface, and generally just being simple to use, are unbeatable. While you might feel like you might be missing out on some of the more advanced features Microsoft 365 offers, they make for complicated use and aren’t beginner-friendly.

If you are still unsure of whether your firm should make the jump to Google Workspace, we are here to help. Xceptional is a certified Google partner and can assist you with Google needs. Contact us and find out what Google Workspace can do for your business. 

In the next installment of our series, we will dissect features, pricing plans and other components of Google Workspace and its products to learn more about the specifics of how it complements SMBs.