Cloud Computing: Office 365 and Google Apps Vie to Control Messaging in the Cloud

 
 
By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2011-08-26
 
 
 

Software Plus Services

Microsoft may have deprecated this motto in favor of more cloud-centric terms, but "Software Plus Services" is the slogan that best sums up Microsoft's cloud applications approach. Every component that comprises Office 365 is available in both Microsoft-hosted and on-premises editions, and the organizations poised to extract the most value from Office 365 will be running Microsoft's full stack of thick-client applications.

Software Plus Services

Nothing but the Web

For Google's part, it's the marketing slogan for the company's Chromebook devices, "Nothing but the Web," that best characterizes Google's Apps offerings. The Web giant's cloud resides solely in Google data centers, and while Google offers a handful of Windows client integration points, Google Apps tend to rely on a Web browser and live Internet connection.

Nothing but the Web

Google Sync for Outlook

The primary interface for Google's GMail is Web-based, but the company makes available a Sync tool that works well with Outlook.

Google Sync for Outlook

Outlook Web Access

Microsoft's Web-based Exchange client, Outlook Web Access, recreates the Outlook experience on multiple browsers and platforms.

Outlook Web Access

Adapting to Old Habits

For users that prefer traditional message views and folder structures, Google has, in the past year, added options for unbundling the message view and for enabling nested labels to recreate the folders experience.

Adapting to Old Habits

Office Apps Still Lag

At this point, neither set of online productivity tools is mature enough to fully replace fat client word processors, spreadsheets or presentation applications due to their feature limitations and lack of offline support.

Office Apps Still Lag

Activesync as Mobile Lingua Franca

The user-access experience on mobile devices is similar for both Office 365 and Google Apps, as both services tap Microsoft's Activesync protocol for syncing mail, calendar items and contacts on iOS and Android devices.

Activesync as Mobile Lingua Franca

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