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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Google Office vs. MS Office Home and Student
By Tony Ruscoe

In the past, I’ve often said that Google Docs and Spreadsheets is not a Microsoft Office competitor, based on the fact that MS Office is expensive, meant for business use and had much more functionality for power users. After checking the price and versions of MS Office whilst shopping yesterday, I take that back.

I’ve now seen that you can buy a copy of “Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007" for around £100. It includes Word (Docs), Excel (Spreadsheets), Powerpoint (Presently) and OneNote (Notebook), and is licensed for use on up to three computers providing they’re not used for commercial purposes.

Since Google is going after the home / student market, how many would choose Google over Microsoft? Personally, I’d rather use these Microsoft products because they’ve got more features. I’ve never got on with Docs (it’s basically just a glorified WYSIWYG HTML editor), Spreadsheets lacks many of the features of Excel (they’ve only just added charts and many of the shortcuts and quick ways of doing things still don’t work) and “Presently” doesn’t even exist... yet! As for OneNote or Notebook, I don’t need either. Furthermore, I’m relying on my Internet connection to work with Google products and I’d rather work offline.

Everyone seems to want free software but sometimes you get what you pay for in my opinion. Are these components of MS Office worth £30-35 per computer? I’d say so. Would I use Google services instead? Not right now. Having said that, I might consider using OpenOffice instead of MS Office but I just don’t feel Google Docs (etc.) is quite up to scratch yet.

To me, the only benefit of Google Docs is that everything is stored in a central storage point online. If Google gave me GDrive (without the 500KB limit like Docs has currently), I’d have no need to use their “Office” services as I could have MS Office / OpenOffice installed on all the computers I use and upload / download files as I need them.

What are other people’s opinions on this? Does Google offer you exactly what you need? Would you rather pay for better products (from either Microsoft or Google)? Would you rather work with files online or offline?

Also see a previous discussion about how much to pay for using Google.


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