Is it time for your business to switch to a new email service provider?

Microsoft released a beta version of Outlook.com last year and added a number of important features and functions to the system over the past several months. Gmail also underwent a major design and function overhaul very recently; in fact, the new version of Gmail went live just a few weeks ago. With both Microsoft and Google trying their best to create the best email solution possible, now is a good time for your business to revisit its choice of email provider. Here are five ways to compare Microsoft and Google's enterprise email products.

Customization and integrations

With Gmail, users can enable a number of useful customization features right from their Gmail inboxes. As expected, Gmail seamlessly integrates with Google Docs, and you can open attachments using Google Apps such as Google Docs or Google Sheets and save them to Google Drive without ever leaving the Google ecosystem. The same goes for using other Google services such as Google Translate, which even works directly in the message compose screen. Furthermore, Gmail also integrates with third-party apps available in the Google apps marketplace, and it can also import social media contacts into your Gmail address book.

Just as Gmail works with Google apps and Google Drive, Outlook completely integrates with Office 365 applications as well as OneDrive. Add-ins and extensions work pretty much the same way across different devices when using Outlook, and you can also enjoy quick access to Word, Excel and PowerPoint, not to mention other products such as OneNote and highly acclaimed Sway, a product that can be used to create multimedia stories.

User interface

Gmail redefined the look and feel of email by providing a streamlined service never seen before when it first came out. However, Outlook and other email service providers have quickly caught up. Gmail used to be the interface that allowed you to focus on email to get things done without getting distracted, but it's fair to say that Outlook took that idea to a higher level. It features a reading pane that can be turned on or off (Gmail's reading pane is still an experimental Labs feature), and it uses a straightforward folder structure that uses categories for email organization. These categories actually function as message tags, and messages with specific tags can be previewed in what are known as Quick View folders. As for Gmail, it still uses labels instead of folders, and it can automatically filter emails for you into Primary, Social and Promotions tabs to save you time sifting through unsolicited messages while looking for important ones.

Search

What would a Google service be without Search? It is probably why Gmail was launched in the first place - to have an email service as easily searchable as looking for something using Google Search itself. Outlook has a pretty decent search feature too, and the Quick View folders mentioned above do help. However, Outlook's search is nothing exceptionally new, and so saying that it gets the job done is probably the best way to describe it.

Storage

For free accounts, Gmail offers users 15 gigabytes of free storage space that is shared across Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photo. GSuite, the premium platform that is priced starting at $5 per user per month, provides 30 gigabytes of storage. As for Outlook, it offers 50 gigabytes just for your inbox on their cheapest plan (the Office 365 Enterprise E1 plan) along with 1 terabyte of storage for linked cloud office products.

Privacy/Security

Gmail came up with two-factor authentication before Microsoft (although Microsoft does provide it now as well). Gmail also uses robust machine learning to detect suspicious logins and block a great deal of even advanced types of spam. While Gmail automatically scans incoming email attachments before users can download them to prevent the spread of viruses, it does not, contrary to popular belief, scan incoming emails.

Outlook comes with an email filtering service of its own that provides protection by targeting specific types of advanced threats such as unknown malware and viruses. It also provides great real-time and time-of-click protection against malicious websites.

Conclusion

There isn't much that separates the two. Gmail wins in search, but Outlook is tightly integrated with Office Online, which can be very important for corporate users who use other Microsoft products. Both work on a variety of devices, both have implemented email sorting and organization structures that are effective and easy to use and both provide composition tools that enable users to customize messages in numerous ways while allowing for connection and integration with in-house as well as third-party apps to enhance email productivity and functionality.

The bottom line, however, is that Gmail is great for casual use. Its tabbed inboxes, email labels, access to Google services, integration with Hangouts, feature-rich composition tools, advertising and language support and money transfer and payment options make it well-suited to the average private individual.

Outlook, on the other hand, has a more focused inbox that can do most of the above just as well as Gmail, but it can also help you organize and keep track of things in a number of important areas still somewhat lacking in Gmail, such as travel and flight plans and calendar entries. Furthermore, with its tight integration with Skype and all of Microsoft's products, better storage options and quicker load times, Outlook is the better email provider to use if you are a small or average-sized business.

And of course there is SEDNA. If you work in an enterprise organization within a team environment that needs an email system to manage thousands of messages a day and collaborate with others, your organization should consider our technology in addition to Gmail or Outlook.