February 22, 2022 by Bojana Krstic

Outlook vs. Gmail for Business – Which to Choose?

If you’re looking for a robust email and calendaring service for business purposes, the odds are that Microsoft Outlook and Google Gmail are on your shortlist. These two email providers have advanced the workplace email market and set the bar high for business communication. So, considering that both options are at the top of the heap, it can be challenging to pick one over the other.

This side-by-side comparison of Outlook vs. Gmail will help you decide which one is the right fit for your company.

Outlook vs. Gmail: User Experience & Interface

The main Microsoft Outlook screen consists of three panels: Folders, Inbox, and selected message, conveniently arranged from left to right with a three-tabbed toolbar placed above them.

You can adjust the size of each panel and open the selected message in a separate window, but that’s pretty much everything Outlook offers in terms of customization. Similarly, the color palette is a bit traditional – grayscale with some light blue elements. Although this design is pleasant to look at, it’s somewhat bland and uninventive.

On the other hand, Google organized its main view differently. Folders are on the left side of the screen, with the inbox positioned at its center part and a search bar at the top.

Unlike Outlook, Gmail allows its users to customize their inbox with a number of predefined themes, such as pebbles, cityscapes, or animated Tea House. It’s also possible to use your own photo as a background.

Google definitely scores some brownie points in terms of aesthetics. However, some might prefer Outlook for a professional context precisely because of Google’s colorful design.

Dark mode is available in both Outlook and Gmail.

Both Outlook and Gmail come with a user-friendly interface design, thus making it easy for users to organize and manage their mail.

Outlook displays the sender’s name and the subject line of unread messages in blue to make them more prominent. It also allows users to flag important messages by highlighting them.

Contrastingly, Gmail differentiates unread messages by bolding the sender’s name and the subject line – read messages appear grayed out in the preview. Users can also mark important messages by starring them. Google almost wins by a small margin in this department thanks to its superior differentiation between the read and unread messages, but thanks to Microsoft Outlook’s flagging feature, it’s a tie.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Features and Capabilities

Being parts of Microsoft Office 365 (O365) Business and Google Workplace (formally G Suite) workplace productivity and collaboration suites, Outlook and Gmail respectively come with many interesting features.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Email Search

Both solutions come with the search functionality.

Outlook allows you to sift through multiple email folders by typing a keyword into the search bar. It also enables you to segment your search results based on different parameters such as senders, recipients, subject lines, dates received/sent, or categories.

In Outlook, it’s easy to compose new email messages and search through the old ones at the same time, which comes in very handy for cross-referencing. On the downside, Outlook’s search accuracy is subpar.

Even though you can write new messages in Gmail and search through the older ones simultaneously, its interface doesn’t support this properly. This can be an issue when you have to cross-reference an existing message in a new one.

Gmail, however, shines when it comes to search accuracy as it uses Google’s proprietary search technology, which allows for more granular searches than its contender. Its advanced interface also enables you to filter search results by different parameters and use Google search operators for finding emails and attachments in cluttered folders quickly and easily.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Calendar

Using either Outlook or Gmail’s calendaring functionality significantly facilitates scheduling appointments, staying on top of important events, and inviting coworkers to meetings.

If you click the calendar icon in Outlook, a separate window will open and display upcoming events by day, work week, week or month. You’ll be able to neatly organize and categorize these events by applying different color labels.

It’s easy to schedule an appointment, invite people, set the date, location, and duration, as well as compose a message to explain what the event will be about.
There’s also a shared calendar feature so that employees can collaborate with their team members.

To view your calendar in Gmail, click on Google Apps, and select the Calendar icon from the drop-down menu.

A new window will pop up, where all your upcoming events will be displayed. It’s fairly easy to create a new event, add a title, invite participants, set a reminder, and write a message with the event description. Just like in Outlook, it’s possible to share your calendar with others or categorize events by labeling them.

Outlook and Gmail’s calendaring features are very similar when it comes to functionality and ease of use. The same can be said for their flaws – neither allows you to simultaneously view your calendar and inbox side by side. Although there are some tweaks for this, they’re still leaving much to be desired.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has become a critical ingredient of effective business communication, especially in Covid times. Both Outlook and Gmail offer this functionality, but only through their respective Office365 and Google Workspace productivity suites.

In other words, organizations can use video conferencing only via Microsoft Teams and Google Meet apps. Both Teams and Meet offer the instant messaging functionality right out the box, integrated with video calls.

In either case, it’s recommended to subscribe to the full O365 or Google Workspace suite if video conferencing is something your organization heavily relies on, even though it’s possible to use all these apps as standalone products.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Spam Protection

The first line of defense against unsolicited emails in both Outlook and Gmail is spam filtering.

In Outlook, you can block individual senders and create specific, very granular rules based on different parameters such as the sender, recipient, particular words, attachment sizes, or date received.

This way, you’ll ensure no unwanted message ends up in your inbox. Instead, Outlook will automatically forward it to the junk folder. You can also automatically prioritize, delete, and mark emails as read or move them to a different folder using these rules.

The Junk Email Filter moves all suspicious email messages directly to the Junk folder by default. However, you can edit its settings and change the level of protection. In case you come across a message that doesn’t belong in your Junk folder, you can easily drag it back to the inbox and mark it as “Not Junk.”

Similarly, Gmail boasts several effective ways to fight spam, including blocking individual senders, setting up custom spam filters, and automatically moving received messages to predefined folders or labeling them based on different parameters.

Outlook and Gmail have similar filtering options and capabilities. Still, the latter has a slight edge because of its state-of-the-art machine learning framework implemented to train spam filters. This resulted in Gmail catching and blocking an additional 100 million messages every day. For example, the email service provider uses optical character recognition (OCR) to protect its users from image spam. As a matter of fact, Gmail spam filters are so strict that sometimes even legitimate messages wind up in the spam folder.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Two-Factor Authentication

Both Outlook and Gmail have two-factor authentication. However, the former was slow to keep pace with the times and introduced this security protocol only in 2016. It’s safe to say that at this moment, Outlook is on par with Gmail in terms of adding an extra layer of protection to the security of email accounts. But if we’re going to split hairs, Gmail was there first and spearheaded the innovation in this field.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Privacy

Google has been embroiled in a number of controversies regarding privacy violations. The company’s data privacy policy is far from transparent, which is why organizations that exchange sensitive data using Gmail should invest in the paid version of the service.

On the other hand, Microsoft handles this segment very elegantly as it allows its users to control their personal and sensitive data and ensures regulatory compliance, thus outperforming Gmail by a landslide in this respect.

When talking about privacy, it would be a good idea to bring up a related topic that’s critical for every organization – email archiving.

Organizations are required to store emails in their original format and make sure they can be quickly and easily retrieved. Simply backing up your email correspondence won’t do the trick, as it doesn’t protect individual messages from being altered or deleted.

Email archiving solutions like Jatheon can save you a lot of time and money by storing your emails in a manner that will prevent data loss, allow for bulletproof data governance practices, ensure compliance with data retention and privacy regulations and enable efficient ediscovery.

This means your email messages will be properly organized, indexed, and stored in a read-only, searchable format together with attachments. In other words, you can easily retrieve any email message in case you have to hand it over as evidence in different lawsuits, audits, investigations, or open data requests.

Finally, although Outlook and Gmail do provide archiving capabilities, they’re pretty basic. Jatheon is compatible with all email service providers, including Outlook and Gmail.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Costs & Storage

Outlook and Gmail offer several pricing plans, and the amount of storage you’ll get depends on how much you’re ready to invest. To help you get the best value for your money, we’ve created these charts:

Microsoft Outlook / Microsoft 365

Cost Mailbox Storage
Outlook Free 15GB
Microsoft 365 Business Basics $5/user/mo. 1TB
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business $8.25/user/mo. 1TB
Microsoft 365 Business Standard $12.5/user/mo. 1TB
Microsoft 365 Business Premium  $20/user/mo. 1TB

Organizations that purchase a subscription for either O365 Business Basics and O365 Business Standard get an additional 1TB of file storage and sharing via OneDrive. To get more details, check out the complete Microsoft 365 pricing plans with feature set details, including Microsoft’s Enterprise packages.

Google Gmail / Google Workspace

Cost Mailbox Storage
Gmail Free 15GB
Business Starter $6/user/mo. 30GB
Business Standard $12/user/mo. 2TB
Business Plus $8/user/mo. 5TB
Enterprise Contact Sales As much as you need

It’s worth mentioning that Workspace Business and Workspace Enterprise users get unlimited access to cloud storage through Drive.

Outlook vs. Gmail: The Verdict

Both solutions have their own advantages or disadvantages, which means that your ultimate decision depends mainly on your specific business needs and requirements.

Whichever you choose, remember that there might be government and industry regulations that your organization needs to follow for the archiving of electronic communications like email, chat and video calls. Neither Outlook nor Gmail offers the complete archiving capabilities for archiving.

On the other hand, Jatheon’s specialized data archiving solutions assist organizations of all sizes to archive communications from both Outlook and Gmail. To learn more about Jatheon’s deployment models and pricing plans, book a free demo or contact us directly.

Read Next:

G Suite vs. Gmail: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Guide to Microsoft Office365 Archiving

10 Microsoft Outlook Alternatives to Try in 2022

About the Author
Bojana Krstic
Bojana Krstic is the Head of Content and SEO at Jatheon and an experienced writer on topics like data archiving, ediscovery, and compliance. When AFK, you’ll find her hiking, discovering new music, or road-tripping.

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