The first thing that comes to mind when people think of email is Gmail, Google’s free email service.
However, apart from the search engine and email services, the company also offers an entire collection of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools called Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). And since Gmail is also a part of Google Workplace, people tend to get confused over which of the two is a better solution for their needs. That’s why we decided to compare G Suite vs. Gmail and see how they stack up against each other.
Let’s discuss Google Workspace and Gmail in more detail, identify their differences and similarities, and help you understand which one to pick for your business.
What Is Gmail?
Gmail is a free, cloud-based, email service offered by Google. The search engine company introduced email in 2004, and at first, it was available as an invite-only model. In 2007, Gmail became open to the wider public, and in 2021, the most popular email service had 1.8 billion users and counting.
When you create a Gmail account, you get 15 GB of free cloud storage shared across 3 different products – Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Every Gmail account also serves as a Google Account, meaning you’re eligible for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.
What Is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace is a set of cloud productivity and collaboration tools that started out as Google Apps for Your Domain launched in 2006. Ten years later, in 2016, Google reinvented this productivity bundle and rebranded it as G Suite. The next step of the G Suite evolution happened in 2020 when Google revamped and rebranded it one more time as Google Workspace. This new iteration didn’t offer only cosmetic improvements – the company took things up a notch by introducing an even more integrated and seamless user experience across their communication and collaboration apps.
Google Workspace users have access to a number of various productivity tools such as:
- Google Meet – Google’s messaging and video call service that recently replaced Hangouts and Chat;
- Calendar – a scheduling and time management tool;
- Drive – Google’s file storage and collaboration platform;
- Docs – an online, collaborative word processor;
- Sheets – collaborative spreadsheet program
- Slides – collaborative presentation builder
- Forms – a platform where users can create and administer surveys and questionnaires
We should highlight that Gmail too is a part of Google Workspace since this article is a detailed comparison of the two. But what’s even more important to say is that this version of Gmail isn’t the same as the free one.
To paraphrase Google: Google Workspace gives you a wide variety of additional business-grade services that aren’t available to users of free apps. Some of these services are:
- custom business email @yourcompany,
- at least two times more cloud storage shared across Gmail, Drive, and other services,
- 24/7 phone and email support,
- 99.9% guaranteed uptime,
- integration with Microsoft Outlook,
- advanced security options such as two-step authentication and SSO, and
- admin controls for user accounts.
One of the most notable differences is also that those who sign up for Google Workspace get 30 email aliases per user. In addition to that, the Google Workspace version of Gmail integrates with Chat, Meet, and Rooms in an attempt to provide a unified communication interface and take aim at Microsoft and Slack.
Google Workspace has four pricing plans, with Business Starter, the basic and most affordable one, starting at $6 per user per month. The chart below shows all pricing plans and what each of them includes.
Google Suite (Workspace) vs. Gmail: Main Differences
There are some important differences between Google Workspace and Gmail:
- Gmail is a free service, while Google Workspace isn’t. Its four different pricing tiers are designed for individuals, small businesses, larger organizations, and enterprises respectively. The pricing reflects these use cases and ranges from $5–$16 per user per month.
- Unlike Gmail users, who can only control their email and Google Account credentials, Google Workspace users can create, edit, and delete all the accounts and addresses they created using it.
- Users of the free version of Gmail can have only the addresses on the @gmail.com domain. On the other hand, Google Workspace users get the privilege of creating their own domain names.
- Gmail users can count on up to 15 GB of cloud storage available. At the same time, Google Workspace users are entitled to anywhere from 30 GB to unlimited storage, depending on the plan they opt for.
- While both Gmail and Google Workspace give their users access to additional productivity apps, which apps one gets depends on the service they choose. A free Gmail account grants access to some basic apps and features such as Google Drive, Docs, Calendar, and Slides. However, in addition to that, Google Workspace also offers access to Google Meet, Chat, Keep Sites, Forms, and Current. Finally, Google Workspace also boasts a richer feature set that includes more advanced and in-depth security capabilities, intelligent search algorithms, and more.
- Although a sharing option is available to both Gmail and Google Workspace, the latter significantly facilitated collaboration efforts. This means that Google Workspace users enjoy admin privileges – they have total ownership and control over any files created by individual user accounts.
- Free Gmail users have somewhat limited assistance options. They can either use the Gmail knowledge base or Help Forum. However, Google Workspace users are eligible for 24/7 phone and email support.
Should You Use Gmail or Google Workspace?
This decision depends on your needs only. Gmail was created with personal use in mind. Despite being one of the most popular and feature-rich free email services, it doesn’t have what it takes to be a powerful and effective tool for advanced business users as it lacks different capabilities and functionalities.
Google Workspace was intended primarily for business users and enterprises. That’s why it comes with a custom domain option for the email address, group email addresses, entire productivity and collaboration suite, 24/7 assistance, as well as enterprise-level control over resources, and account ownership.
These last two items play a critical role for any business user. In a situation where an employee leaves a company, they keep the ownership of the document they created with a Gmail account. On the other hand, the access to company documents and files they create using Google Workspace can be revoked so that the company can safeguard its sensitive information from being potentially shared. Google Workplace makes this possible as administrative users have the ability to change individual account credentials, thus preventing former employees from logging into their company-related Google Accounts.
|Related: When an Employee Resigns, What Happens to Their Email|
Google Suite (Workspace) vs. Gmail: A Rundown
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Google Workspace and Gmail’s most important features, capabilities, and pricing plans.
|Google Suite (Workspace) vs. Gmail|
|Pricing per user per month||Business Starter: $4.68
Business Standard: $9.36
Business Plus: $15.60
Enterprise: contact Sales for pricing
|Apps and tools||Every plan includes:
|Additional Features||Ad free
Single sign-on (SSO)
Offline email mode
|Storage per user||Business Starter: 30 GB
Business Standard: 2 TB
Business Plus: 5 TB
|Security and Management||Google Admin – security and admin controls
Google Endpoint Management – device management
Google Vault – enterprise archiving
Work Insights – a reporting tool
|Support||24/7 phone and email support
Business Starter: Standard
Business Standard: Standard
Business Plus: Standard
How to Fortify Your Company Email Archiving
While it’s true that both Gmail and Google Workplace offer a certain level of archiving capability, they aren’t nearly as effective as a dedicated archiving solution.
And here’s why business users should care.
All email messages you send or receive have to be protected from being altered in any way and safely stored so they can be quickly and easily searched, retrieved, and handed over to authorities in case of potential litigation.
Google Vault, as Google’s integrated management and archiving platform, can’t live up to specialized email archiving solutions in terms of feature set or capabilities.
Jatheon is a robust archiving solution that simplifies the process and stores your emails in a secure, reliable, and compliant manner. It captures all your incoming and outgoing emails, stores, indexes, organizes, as well as prepares them for ediscovery and FOIA requests.
Unlike Google, Jatheon can handle much larger archive exports, has more advanced ediscovery capabilities and allows you to restore emails to an email account in one click. Moreover, if you ever wish to migrate from Google, your archive would be migrated seamlessly as Jatheon is compatible with all email platforms.