As many may know, collaborative efforts are very much in vogue these days (maybe they’ve always been, but bear with me here). In all the time I’ve spent sitting in classes I’ve observed, with frightening consistency, that the first thing out of every group’s self-appointed leader is “I’ll start a Google Doc.” It’s pretty clear that Google Drive has become ubiquitous among broke and unwillingly collaborative college kids, but how does it stack up to Office 365? Which is better for professionals? And why would anyone pay for Office 365 if Google Drive is free, anyway? Analysis: as usual, the platform you want to use depends on your needs, so here are some things to consider.

Office 365 does all this stuff:

  • Office 365 has  made collaboration accessible. It’s not quite as universally understood as Google Drive yet, but it works essentially the same way.
  • Users can work with Office offline, which is not something that Google Drive plays as well with.
  • Microsoft OneDrive stores files in the cloud, so users can access them from multiple machines. The subscription to Office 365 includes 1 TB of storage.
  • The professional version of Office 365 costs $12.00 per user per month. This includes more applications than Google Drive offers, such as Publisher, Access, One Note, and Skype for Business.

Google Drive does all this stuff:

  • Google Drive has historically been the go-to platform for document sharing. Especially when everybody wants to work on it at once. (Note that Google Drive has replaced Google Docs, but the two are distinct.)
  • Getting this to work offline takes some doing, but it’s absolutely possible.
  • Since Drive is cloud-based, users can access documents wherever they can access their accounts. An Office 365  user can only access it with his account that he authorizes on up to five devices.
  • And it does all that stuff free (unless you want to upgrade storage to more than 15GB, which will cost you $9.99 per month for 1TB).

And that’s the bare bones of it, folks. Happy deliberating.