A comprehensive guide to help you choose the best word processor for your company.
The battle between Microsoft Word and Google Docs for the coveted title of the best word processor has been raging for some time now. While many of us have been faithful to Microsoft Word for years, producing school essays, resumes and essential work documents, Google Docs has revolutionized the way we edit and share documents in a hyper-connected world with its web-based experience.
If you’re uncertain as to which platform might be more suitable for your business needs, this blog post is here to help you by comparing the two industry giants based on criteria like features, cost and accessibility.
An introduction to Google Docs
Google Docs, a free web-based word processor, was first released in 2006 as part of the Google Docs Editors suite of web applications. It enables users to create, edit and store documents online from any computer and mobile device running Android or iOS and with an internet connection.
Today, its popularity has grown to encompass over 25 million people worldwide who enjoy its easy collaboration capabilities, anytime/anywhere access and auto-save feature.
An introduction to Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word, often referred to as Word or MS Word, is a powerful desktop application that has been around for many years. It is a part of the Microsoft Office suite and offers a range of features, such as document templates, collaboration tools and tracking changes. Since its initial launch in 1983, there have been regular updates of the program to keep up with current market needs.
The latest version of Microsoft Word includes more features that make it easier to use, including a ribbon interface that organizes tools into tabs, a navigator pane that provides an overview of the document and touch input support.
Google Docs vs. MS Word: Which one is better?
There are a few key factors to consider when choosing between Google Docs and Microsoft Word.
Google Docs is free to use, although the free version is limited to 15 GB of cloud storage. You can also subscribe to Google One (which offers bigger storage on Google Drive) or Workspace. With a Google Workspace subscription, you get a maximum capacity of 300 users, video meetings with 100+ participants, more storage in Drive and admin control over user accounts, services and mobile devices. You can also access business features, like appointment scheduling and email marketing, and data retention and eDiscovery with Google Vault (Google’s information governance tool) and more.
Here are the available options:
- Google One: from US$1.99 (100 GB storage on Drive), US$2.99 (200 GB) and US$9.99 (2 TB) per month; you can share the storage with up to five members.
- Google Workspace Individual: US$9.99 (1 TB) per month
- Google Workspace Business: from US$6 (30 GB storage per user), US$12 (2 TB storage per user) and US$18 (5 TB storage per user) per user per month
Microsoft offers a free web-based version of Word, but it lacks some prominent features, such as advanced collaboration tools, which can be accessed with a Microsoft 365 subscription. The subscription also offers online meetings with up to 300 attendees, business-class email, better security, greater cloud storage, 24/7 phone and web support, web/desktop apps, etc.
Here are some of the available packages for customers located in the U.S.:
- Office Home & Student 2021 (one-time purchase for one PC or Mac): US$149.99Sundar Pichai
- Microsoft 365 Personal (1 TB cloud storage per user): US$69.99 per year or US$6.99 per month
- Microsoft 365 Family (for two to six users; 1 TB per user): US$99.99 per year or US$9.99 per month
- Microsoft 365 Business: from US$6-22 (1 TB per user) per user per month + one-month free trial
Both Google Docs and Microsoft Office offer a real-time collaboration feature that can be useful for businesses, but they differ in some key ways. For example, Google Docs offers an easy-to-use simultaneous editing feature that allows multiple users to work on a document at the same time. This can be extremely helpful for businesses that need to collaborate on projects or documents.
While Microsoft Office also boasts a “co-authoring” collaboration tool as well, using them is often frustratingly demanding. Real-time editing in Word is affected by several factors, including the device each user is working on, their organizational affiliation, and the location of the document
Since Google Docs is a web-based service, it is available on any desktop platform using any browser. It can also be used through the Google Docs apps for Android or iOS mobile devices. Access to Google Docs requires a Google account and an internet connection, although the ability to work offline is available with the appropriate settings.
Microsoft Word is available for Windows and MacOS computers and can be used on Android and iOS devices. You can use it online with any browser if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription. With the Microsoft 365 Business Standard (US$6 per user per month) or Premium (US$ 12.5 per user per month) subscription, you can access its apps on the web, mobile devices and desktop computers. Other plans like Business Basic (US$6 per user per month) and Microsoft 365 Apps for Business (US$8.25 per user per month) limit access to web/mobile and desktop apps, respectively.
While there is no clear winner, you should evaluate what features and benefits you need when choosing between Google Docs and Microsoft Word. They are both powerful word processors, but each has its own strengths. In short, Google Docs offers robust collaboration tools and integrates with Google Workspace (including Gmail, Calendar and Drive). On the other hand, Microsoft Word is ideal for those familiar with Microsoft products (e.g. Windows and Outlook) and in need of advanced capabilities, such as data analysis or email merge. It’s possible that a combination of both might be the best choice for some businesses.
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