Automation Concepts & Technologies Blog
Which Email Platform is Better for You, Outlook or Gmail?
Email and calendar applications remain the top tool in most business settings, assisting with a wide variety of communication needs. However, in order to make the most of your communications, you need to have an email client that is powerful, flexible, and professional. Here, we’re pitting two major email applications against each other to see which one offers the features that best suit your business and its needs.
To do so, we’ll be examining each of our contenders, Microsoft Outlook and Google’s Gmail, based on the same considerations. To start, let’s consider the actual interface that a user must navigate in each option.
Your personal preferences may come into play as you weigh the two very different interfaces against each other, as each takes a very different approach. While Microsoft’s Outlook adapts the same toolbars and ribbons that Microsoft Office users are accustomed to with the iconic Microsoft applications like Word and Excel, Gmail takes a simplistic, no frills approach, which often leaves the user hunting for information and wanting more features.
Outlook, on the other hand, takes the opposite tack - giving users a plethora of options, including the ability to review multiple email accounts simultaneously. For those who find all of the options that Outlook offers to be intimidating, Outlook uses a Ribbon menu that stretches across the top of the screen that can be modified to fit a user’s needs and likes.
Nevertheless, Outlook offers so many options that new users might feel intimidated. In addition to the Ribbon, stuffed with options, a user can use up to 4 panes to organize their email and calendars. Outlook allows you to run inbox-specific searches and sort emails based on assorted criteria, a reading pane to preview your messages, and options to reply, reply all, or forward the message. Outlook is what the majority of businesses have been using for decades, so chances are you are pretty familiar with it.
This may be an important consideration when you are trying to determine the best email client. While Outlook has many features to manage messages, it is also not short on options when it comes to formatting email messages, using all the power of Microsoft Word. Microsoft has also made it easy to share documents stored on the network, in Microsoft Teams & SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox, or items created in Outlook itself. The Ribbon, of course, offers a litany of other features to make creating, scheduling, and reviewing your emails much simpler.
Comparatively, Google offers less through Gmail, the apparent focus on simplicity gives a user a rather crude, but usable solution, with the basic features that most home users would need, but probably would leave a professional wanting. Attaching media to an email can admittedly be a complicated process due to the three separate ways to do so. There’s a button to insert files from the computer’s storage, a button for inserting photos from Google Photos, and a button to insert files from your Google Drive. While these options are great for a home user, business networks should be blocking access to Google Drive and Google Photos for security or legal compliance reasons.
Finally, in order for you to actually be productive as you use your email, it is best that you have some level of organization to it. This is why both of our subjects today feature some degree of management functionality.
Outlook, for instance, offers an automated means of prioritizing emails through its Focused Inbox feature. After a little bit of time “training” this feature, you can rely on it to separate your important messages from incoming sales and other promotional correspondence. Messages in the same conversation can be consolidated, making conversations much simpler to read, and folders and subfolders can be used to keep better track of them.
A user can easily create rules in Outlook to make the management of their emails even easier. Emails from certain users, or containing certain words in the subject line, (or both) can automatically be moved to folders, flagged, or forwarded to other members of your team.
Gmail is somewhat customizable, in terms of management and organization, with folders and tabs to differentiate your messages and settings that can be configured to automatically take care of this for you. However, if one of your conversations branches out into multiple threads, Gmail can become confusing, as all of its messages are just arranged chronologically. Having said that, Gmail somewhat redeems itself with its Labels. Labels allow you to organize your email based on the context of the message, by applying a label to each message as it comes in. These labels can also be nested within each other - so let’s say that you were involved in a lot of project work, you could create a folder for project-related emails, and sub-folders for individual projects.
While there are a lot of considerations when deciding upon an email platform, Microsoft Outlook is the clear winner in the business world. Automation Concepts has been working with email since it first came on the scene in the mid 1990’s and has seen the evolution from a very basic tool to a sophisticated communications platform. We have helped many clients move their email platforms from Google to Microsoft. We even had one client move from Microsoft to Google with the promise of significant cost savings. Not only were there no savings, the loss of functionality had a major impact on productivity.
Moving beyond Microsoft’s Outlook, many of our clients are now embracing Microsoft’s Teams, which is taking collaboration to a whole new level. For more assistance, reach out to the expert consultants at Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. We can help you decide upon the best business technology for your needs, allowing you to focus on other pressing matters. Give us a call at (508) 285-5080 to learn more.