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Google Apps vs. Outlook | A Guide to the End User Experience

James exploring the difference between Google Apps and OutlookOh the wonders of new technology. Throughout my career in sales, I have been told time and time again by my IT team that some new software was going to make my job “so much easier”. Unfortunately, this rarely proved to be true, and usually added hours to my workload each week.

Now, imagine my surprise when I was actually presented with a new technology that not only replaced something that I had been using for over a decade, but also saved me hours a week, if not hours per day! I have been using Google Apps for Business now for about a month, and I’m blown away by the simple interface and vast functionality of the product. I’m guessing I slap my head at least five times a day and say to myself, “well that makes sense.”

Let’s face it, most of our work day is spent on an internet browser. There is always something that you work with in the “cloud” today--whether it be a CRM system, accounting software, storing data on a shared drive, or even checking your personal mail. So it only seems obvious to move your entire workplace into the browser, which is exactly what Google Apps for Business has done. And this isn’t even a clunky interface… It’s sexy as hell!

As I begin my adventure with Google Apps for Business, I have been tasked with the job to document what I see, as a now more efficient, veteran Outlook, Exchange and Office 365 user. I have decided to split my blog across four parts. This post will express my thoughts on the differences I see between Google Mail (Gmail) and Outlook. My future posts will discuss Google Drive vs. Sharepoint, Google Calendar vs. Outlook Calendar, and why Hangouts is better than anything you have ever used on a Microsoft platform.

How Mail SHOULD be…

My first day at Cloudbakers, I was given my login information and told to head to Google Chrome. Immediately after logging in, I was taken to my email. As a Gmail user, I was very familiar with the layout. The big difference was that my work email was now as easy to access as my personal email had been. There was no 15 second load time, or wait for my mailbox to sync or check for new messages. All of my email was just there. As it should be.

I am used to using “folders” in Outlook, but now I get to use “labels”. Although they seem like the same thing on the surface, there are very deep differences, which allow me to be more efficient. I can easily assign multiple labels to the same email. For example, I can mark an email under a “prospects” label, “not contacted” label, and “important”, all while keeping it in my inbox. As it should be.

Another cool tool is the Google search. We all know how powerful Google’s internet search is, and now we get to use it within our work environment. When I search a name, document, or even a specific word, I am given results that spread across my Google Drive, Emails, Calendar, and even chat messages. This has made it so easy for me to find the information I am looking for. I love it! As someone who keeps tons of emails, I am now able to search and discover exactly what I am looking for, within seconds. As it should be.

Google Apps vs. Outlook | Search your Inbox to find emails and chats

One more thing I want to touch on, is the complete integration of everything I need to do my job well. If I have a question for my technical lead while I’m looking through emails, I can click on his name (already shown on my email screen) and can immediately chat him without switching screens. If I want to see his face as he tells me for the tenth time how to fix my printer, I can click one more time and start up a Google Hangout. This entire platform is built to get you from anywhere, to anywhere, with one single click. As it should be.

Google Apps vs. Outlook | Email to Chat to Video Hangout

Do I sell Google Apps for Business? Yes I do. The real question is, would I sell this to my own mother? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Stay tuned for my experiences with Google Drive and how it has become a useful tool--not just a place to store documents.

Keep Calm and Cloud On!

Take care,
James DeMory

Google-Apps-Event

Originally published on April 11, 2014

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