Office 365 vs Google Docs – which is better for the mobile office?

Microsoft is a dominant player in office applications for desktops, but since the start of cloud computing and the mobile office, things have changed. Google Docs has also been in the business of office applications for the web and has challenged Microsoft’s office suite. In the past each had a different approach. Microsoft focussed on desktop applications and Google Docs only offered web applications from the the start.

With the launch of Office 365, Microsoft has followed Google Docs’ lead and is ready for the battle in the world of cloud computing. Let us examine their features and compatibility side by side to arrive at a verdict.


Word Processing: Both Office 365 and Google Docs are similar to each other with respect to features, the former having ability to edit PDF file whereas the latter’s has auto save feature makes it invaluable.

  • Presentation: Office 365 has various attractive and appealing themes whereas Google Docs has limited themes that are not very impressive. 
  • Spreadsheet: Office 365 is much more user-friendly for calculations and formulas whereas Google Docs’ cell selection and formula editor is sub standard.
  • Sharing & Collaboration: Both Office 365 and Google Docs are equivalent in terms of sharing and simultaneous file editing. The latter is much more user-friendly with color coding of different users editing the same file at the same time.
  • Offline editing:  Office 365 supports Office Web Apps in its entirety whereas Google only supports offline editing for Document docs and spreadsheets on the Chrome browser.

Browser Compatibility:

Since both Office 365 and Google Docs are cloud supported apps, they work more or less they work on any web-browser. But from a performance point of view, both excel in their own web-browser. Office 365 works better on Internet Explorer whereas Google Docs works better in Chrome.  

The optimization of tools in Google’s own web-browser makes them run faster. While using Office 365 in Firefox does not have more issues. Google Docs needs some tweaking – clearing history and cache to work smoother.

File Fidelity:

Since most of us are very familiar with Office suite whether it is desktop or mobile, the essential criterion is compatibility with other online tools say Google Docs or LibreOffice.

To test this, just open .docx file, do some similar formatting in both Office 365 and Google Docs and then save it. On opening the same file in Microsoft office, you will observe the formatting is the same as you did it in Office 365 whereas in Google Docs, it was distorted and corrupted formatting.

Cloud Storage:

Both Office 365 and Google Docs have built-in cloud storage functionality. But both uses different platform where the former uses OneDrive, Dropbox or local storage as option, the later uses Google Drive. Google docs has auto-save feature for storing in Google drive, whereas you have to give the save command in case of Office 365.

Final Verdict

Though both Office 365 and Google Docs are trying to combat each other for supremacy in web-based office tools, Office 365 has improved a lot in terms of functionality and intuitive looks as compared to its beta version. Google Docs is having minimal changes but because of its straightforward style impresses the users.  

This is very subjective as both has pros and cons depending upon how and what applications we use. For simple document editing and texting, both can work better. Deciding which tools to use depends upon the suitability and organization strength whether it is small business or large enterprise and how it is being implemented by the IT.