Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2012. It has been updated where necessary, along with its associated comparison spreadsheets, to reflect the latest information for both Google Apps and Office 365.
Previously, in my ongoing series comparing Google Apps and Office 365, I've compared several feature groups, beginning with their basic productivity applications, and moving on to e-mail and messaging services. In this segment, I will compare various aspects of each one's calendaring software in as much detail as possible.
Google Apps' and Office 365's (as seen under its Exchange Online based Outlook Web App) calendar applications offer many of the most familiar features available in calendar apps, focusing on the scheduling of appointments/events in order to productively manage one's time, not to mention the time of one's colleagues. Yet, both show a divergence in how they facilitate this underlying need, and to what extent. Like so many of its services, Google has stripped down its Google Calendar to the bare essentials, placing greater importance on navigation or UXD (user experience design), where Microsoft continues to try and improve upon the same functionality it has offered since the inception of Outlook (this isn't intended to sound like a bad thing).
In my analysis of the Google Calendar and Office 365's Exchange Online calendar, I've found that for many users, it comes down simply to a preference for one over the other, and it's very subjective. However, in keeping with the course of this series comparing Google Apps to Office 365 as they might be recognized as acceptable for a particularly sized enterprise, I find that in terms of functionality, the Google Calendar might let many down. The Exchange Online calendar is certainly more ready for large enterprises, mostly due to its capacity to integrate with other aspects of the Exchange Online contact management toolset, as well as both on-premise and on-demand applications external to itself (e.g., SharePoint).
Here are the primary feature areas that I cover in the chart:
- Organization (navigation, views, etc.)
- (Event) Notification
- (Application) Integration
The chart is very detailed, so for those who prefer a version to save to the desktop and manipulate, you can download the Excel chart. If you prefer to view a snapshot version, click the thumbnail below to open to full-size.
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Ian is a manager of business intelligence/analytics for a small cap NYSE traded energy company. He also freelance writes about business and technology, as well as consults SMBs upon Internet marketing strategy.