Some people will tell you that social media, chat platforms, and videoconferencing have replaced email as the most important means of communication in the workplace. Don’t believe them. Email remains the lifeblood of business and will do so into the foreseeable future.
When it comes to email in the business world, there are two main products to consider: Microsoft Outlook and Google’s Gmail. Outlook has long been the standby in the workplace, but Gmail has been growing in popularity. Each has changed significantly over the years and continues to change. Because of that, you and your company may want to reconsider which you use for work today.
To help you decide which is best for you, I’ve put them both through their paces. I’ve examined their basic interfaces; how you create, read, and respond to messages; and the options for managing email. I’ve also compared Outlook’s calendaring functions to Gmail’s companion, Google Calendar, and Outlook’s contacts capabilities to Google Contacts.
A few notes about price: Gmail is part of Google’s licensed Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) package for businesses, and it’s free for individual use. Microsoft Outlook is available as part of Microsoft Office, which has a variety of different iterations for personal or business use, and is available as either an annual Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription or a one-time purchase (what Microsoft calls the “perpetual” version of Office). Individuals can use the online version of Outlook for free, but its functionality isn’t as robust as the desktop client’s.
For this review I primarily worked using the desktop version of Outlook for Windows in Microsoft 365. Individuals and businesses who use the perpetual version of Outlook may not have all the features covered here. Because it’s a multiplatform world, I also tested Outlook’s macOS desktop app, mobile apps, and web app. Gmail is web-based, and I tested it in my Chrome and Edge browsers. Google also offers Gmail apps for Android and iOS, so I tested those as well.