Google Workspace V. Microsoft Office
You'd be hard-pressed to find an entrepreneur, student, or company that is not, in some way, using Google Workspace or Microsoft Office.
According to TechRepublic, as of 2020, roughly 80% of businesses use Microsoft Office as their primary productivity suite, accounting for approximately 28,750,000 monthly active users. To put that in perspective, that is 39,930 users of Microsoft 365 every hour of the day - pretty good.
On the other hand, Google Workspace, formerly G Suite, has over 6,000,000 paying businesses, up from 5,000,000 in 2019. The numbers with Google can be misleading. While Microsoft has been the business world's King (or Queen), everyone and their mother has been using tools like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Gmail.
Do you have a Gmail account? Most likely, 99% of those reading this (however few people that may be) will answer yes to that. Google Docs have over 25,000,000 users, and Gmail (wait for it…) has over 1,500,000,000 users worldwide (and that was as of 2019).
The War Begins…Via Press Release
Microsoft and Google announced a wealth of new AI-driven features for their office suites in the past month. Many will say that Google is on the back foot here; with Microsoft announcing over $10 billion in investments into OpenAI, you had to know things would move fast. Microsoft started by telling the new Bing (yes, it is still alive) search engine, and CEO Satya Nadella clarified that Microsoft was coming for Google.
Google was quick to respond…with a press release. Not long after that released a beta version of Bard, their response to GPT-4…plot twist, it sucks. But some will say it sucks because Google is taking a slower and more responsible approach to AI. Time will tell. Recently, Google released a short video showcasing some of the new AI-driven features on Google Workspace.
What is to come
Alright, let's get down to the brass tax here. What new features are coming, and how will they impact your workflow. We (PATHe, LLC.) need to make it clear from the jump that we have no horse in this race. Many of our clients are locked into exclusive contracts with Microsoft, and because of this, we often find ourselves using their tools, and I will be the first to admit they have improved significantly.
As a company, we have stuck to Google Workspace because it is much more affordable, and we have a relatively young staff. Most of them are a decade or so out of University, meaning they are acutely familiar with Google.
Microsoft 365 copilot is an AI-powered productivity tool that assists users in navigating and utilizing Microsoft 365 apps more efficiently, encourages collaboration, and simplifies data and email management.
CNET has done a great job summarizing the features into an 8-minute video that you can check out here.
💬 Microsoft introduces Copilot, a new business chat experience that helps users gather real-time information and up-level their skills in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.
🤖 Microsoft Teams uses AI to collaborate and build on each other's ideas in real time.
Copilot will attend meetings for you, generate summaries with action items, and much more. At some point, AI will simply respond to AI.
📝 Word utilizes these new features to help you improve your writing, generate ideas, input graphs, and more.
📊 Excel will generate formulas for you; this alone is massive. If you go on any social media platform or Youtube today, you can easily find hundreds of creators dedicated themselves to teaching users how to use Excel. Additionally, it will help you visualize and understand your data and, in some cases, create actionable insights (sorry, Tableau)
In some ways, this highlights many of the longstanding issues with Microsoft Office; it could be more user-friendly and intuitive. But alas, AI and Copilot seem here to save the day.
🖼️ PowerPoint will take content from Word and Excel and generate presentations, including generating images and text to go along with it.
📧 Outlook will summarize your emails, prioritize which emails need responding to first, generate responses, and improve your writing.
Google Workspace offers the same useful AI tools and optimizations as Microsoft in, perhaps, a more familiar way.
Check out the announcement of the release in a quick 2-minute video here.
🚀 Smart Meeting Scheduler: This AI-powered tool will analyze participants' calendars, time zones, and preferences to find optimal meeting times, reducing the time spent coordinating schedules.
📝 Advanced Document Collaboration: The AI-driven feature will allow real-time language translation, live transcription, and automated meeting summaries, making it easier for team members from different backgrounds to work together seamlessly.
🎯 Proactive Task Management: AI will analyze user work patterns and habits to suggest personalized task prioritization and deadline reminders, helping users to stay organized and meet their goals.
📧 Intelligent Email Prioritization: The AI system will analyze incoming emails to identify high-priority messages and help users focus on critical communications.
🤖 AI-driven Workflow Automation: The new feature will enable users to create custom workflows and automate repetitive tasks, streamlining processes and reducing the need for manual intervention.
🔍 Enhanced Search Capabilities: AI will power advanced search features, making it easier for users to find relevant information quickly and efficiently within their Google Workspace documents, emails, and files.
🗣️ Virtual Assistant Integration: Integrating Google Assistant into Google Workspace will provide users with a voice-activated AI tool to help manage their work tasks and schedules.
The Word, Excel, and Powerpoint features are essentially the same within Google. The two platforms have gone from trying to one-up one another to creating a carbon copy of what the other is doing. Not necessarily the worst thing in the world.
I know many a Google user that was a bit jealous (myself included) when Microsoft first announced the Ai-driven features. That said, Google has yet to clarify when these features are coming out. We implore you to try and find a realize date. We did a cursory search of the web (using Google) and came up empty-handed.
Both Microsoft and Google are in the process of or have already released some fantastic new features that will improve productivity and save you some time. Which is best for you and/or your team? Well, the truth is…likely whatever you are already using. The time it takes to implement and learn a new system will likely not offset the minor differences between the two platforms. If, however, you are in a rush to augment your workflow with AI and you are deadset on having it on a single platform, then Microsoft is for you, if nothing else, because they have actually released a lot of these features, including a competitor to Notion, called Loop (more on this to come in a later post).
It is important to note that with either of these systems, these will NOT replace humans…yet. The only thing that replaces people in the current state of AI is people that know how to use AI. Responses can be unreliable and, at times, completely irrelevant. You will still need to be engaged in the work and review any of the work AI augments for you. The best example of this is Microsoft. During their demo of Bing, Microsoft failed to recognize that the AI-generated inaccurate financial data in its summary of results.
This also highlights the different approaches between Google and Microsoft. Microsoft did not even take the time to review the responses that would be live-streamed…Conversely, Google has been very, very, very slow to release anything handy.
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