If you’re searching for a business email provider, it’s almost certain that you’re considering a choice between the two providers that dominate the space: Gmail and Outlook.
These two providers offer many of the same capabilities including a built-in chat feature, 15 GB of storage space, and a “Drive” to organize content outside of the email inbox itself.
But here’s a look at some of the differences, which may help you decide which email client best suits the needs of your business.
- Email client vs. webmail
One major technical difference you should know about the two is that Microsoft Outlook is a traditional email client while Gmail is more of a webmail.
What this means is that on an email client like Outlook, users are able to access emails without the use of the internet because the emails are saved on the device itself, such as a mobile or computer.
On webmails such as Gmail, however, there is a requirement for an internet connection to access emails. Given that our devices are almost constantly connected to the internet these days, this difference won’t most likely be the deciding factor, but certainly something you should know about.
- Integrations and the Full Suite of Features
When you’re considering a business email provider, you’re not looking only at the inbox itself, but also the various integration and the suite of features that come with it.
With Outlook, you’ll be able to integrate with the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite including all the trusty, classic apps like Microsoft Word, XL, Powerpoint, and the like. You’ll also have access to OneDrive. Depending on the plan you choose, you may also get access to features like Teams, Azure Information Protection, and some apps like Publisher and Access that are only for PC.
With Google, you’ll get access to Google Drive, and a range of apps that replicate (and from a user experience perspective, arguably improve on) the classic Microsoft apps. So with Google, you’ll get Documents, Sheets, and Slides. Some of the particularly handy features you’ll get access to include Google Meets, Google Calendar, and Forms.
Overall, the “suite” of Google products is easier to use and more user friendly.
- Folders and Organization
While overall Google has more robust spam filters, an intuitive, modern look that separates ads, and a great search feature that makes it easy to filter through emails, there’s one main advantage Microsoft offers: folders.
Microsoft’s Outlook uses the same traditional, tried and tested files and folders, which makes it extremely easy to organize your inbox by filtering emails out of the main inbox and into the relevant category.
Gmail meanwhile uses a “label” feature, which tags emails as certain categories, but does not feature folders that those emails can be moved into, thus continuing to clutter up your inbox despite these labels. It’s also difficult to set up and segment emails to be delivered into a particular inbox. Despite the many positives that Gmail’s more modern features offer, in this case it’s certainly a win for Outlook and their more traditional design.
The Bottom Line
It really depends on what you’re looking for. Gmail is best for users who are looking for a more modern, user friendly design and businesses looking for greater collaboration and communication across the Google ecosystem. For those businesses that prefer more robust email organization options, or those with more traditional workspaces, Outlook may be a better bet.
For organizations looking to leverage the entire range of features offered by both Microsoft and Google, there’s a third option: getting the best of both worlds by syncing both Microsoft and Outlook emails.
To sync your Gmail inbox with Outlook, simply click Add Account in Gmail app or Outlook app and follow the onscreen instructions to enter the login details for your account.
There are however some limitations to this process: the experience you get won’t truly be one of an integrated inbox, rather two inboxes, accounts, and experiences that you can toggle between.
For organizations looking to truly integrate and leverage the features and functionalities of both Gmail and Outlook, there’s the option of using a third party app. One such example is Spike, which allows you to unify all your email inboxes into your Spike account. Spike turns your inbox into an intuitive and user-friendly chat-like experience, creating clean, easy-to-read threads, integrating your inboxes, and making sure you never miss an important email.