Brief introduction of the companies
Everybody thinks that Google is only a web search engine. But Google also offers many other services like Google Apps which are oriented to small and medium business.
Google Apps is a web based office suite containing common office applications like word processor, spreadsheet, tool for presentation, advanced email system, calendar and many extensions to all these apps that can be downloaded from the Google apps marketplace.
Have you ever met anybody who knows what Zoho Office suite exactly is? I think there are not many people with this knowledge. But it´s a shame. Zoho company makes software which is similar or maybe better than products of its large and well known competitors - like Google, and Microsoft. Let us show you why we think so.
Criterias of comparison
As you know, we are comparing edition for small and mid-size business. Why? Because these edition are quite standardized and do not contain so much differences as enterprise subscriptions that are much more customizable and can be adapted directly to customers needs. Our criteria are
- Look and feel
- Browser and language support
Both Zoho and Google both offer their products free for personal use. But don’t be confused, these products are not always for free. If you want to use them in your company, you have to pay for them. Fortunately, it is not a large amount anyway. In the case of Google Apps, for $5/month or $50/year per user you will get still a very fair price taking into account all their rich features and functionality.
Zoho has a different model. One option is to chose the suite called “Zoho Docs” which contain all the necessary applications for office automation and collaboration in your company. This suite contains only “office tools” which means that you can create, edit, share, view and store your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, pictures, music, videos, etc. In this package you can also upload files of any type, including ZIP, PDF, etc. The price is 3$/month per user. As you can see, Zoho office suite is slightly cheaper here than Google Apps.
In this section I would go for: Zoho Office suite
2. Look and feel
You can ask, what could be invented in such a classic area as user interface of office apps? Not too much, certainly, but Zoho tries hard. From our point of view the interface of Zoho is much more sophisticated than the one of Google. Our first impression was something like: “Oh, what do all these many buttons mean? “ But after that first moment of surprise we had very quickly found out that the user interface of Zoho applications is intuitive and it is practically impossible to get lost.
Google Apps are much easier to start with, especially for people who are already using other applications from Google. Colors and lightness are perfect, the usage is simple and clear. The interface is not complicated at all, yet it offers powerful functions hidden behind its apparent simplicity. The overall impression of Google Apps is thus better.
In this section I would go for: Google Apps
3. Browser and language support
Both Google Apps and Zoho Office Suite run well across all major browsers except Opera where it is not possible to use their full functionality. What does it mean? Some functions do not work here or behave in an “non-standard” way. For example, with Google Apps it´s impossible to use the standard copy and paste functions in some cases. Despite these rare errors, the basic functionality of Google Apps is maintained and the work with the application is possible. Something similar happens when we tried Zoho in Opera. What you see first is the warning message that you are using a non supported browser. The whole system then behaved lazily, but everything worked just fine. However, to be on a safer side, we recommend to stick with supported browsers. There is a good selection of them anyway there.
The interface of Google Apps is available in 25 languages including Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese or Indonesian.Zoho office suite is now available in at least sixteen languages, and the number is growing.
In this section I would go for: Zoho Office suite
Google Apps is primarily a system that automates your everyday office work - starting with creation and editing of documents - and finishing with sharing them with your colleagues or publishing them on the internet. Zoho goes beyond this point and brings a more complex system that supports the collaboration in your company even better. More details about Zoho’s extensive functionality can be find in our article here.
In this section I would go for: Both
Both these companies offer lots of extensions. Both of them have their own Marketplace which offers a considerable number of extensions. Zoho offers more functionality in its basic package, so it´s not necessary to buy that many addons. Google Apps Marketplace on the other hand contains much more content. My favourite example is that you can buy applications that allow you to create reports directly from your spreadsheets in Google - see our Google Apps article for details.
In this section I would go for: ZohoOffice Suite
The arithmetic result is 3:1 in favor of Zoho Office suite. What does it mean? Zoho has a bright future ahead and maybe can be bought by Google or Microsoft one day. The price speaks clearly in favor of Zoho, as well as its extensive functionality. Zoho dominance in our other categories isn´t however that clear. In addition, Google is working hard on improving its own functionality, and there is no doubt that it has both capabilities and financial power to do very well here. We will definitely see an extensive competition in this field in the months to come. Stay tuned, we will return to this topic soon.