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Guest Post: Google vs. Microsoft: Cloud Apps for Educators


cloud computingIn a world awash with technology, people have come to expect the ability to access information 24-7. While some may believe this is adding to an increasing sense of self-entitlement among youth, it’s a necessary evil—especially when it comes to education. In days gone by, students and faculty were essentially disconnected once they left campus. However, with the invention and adoption of cloud based operation systems, both teachers and their pupils now have access to educational materials on demand, day or night.

The two major players in the world of educational cloud-based computing are Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps, both of which have seen positive results after being rolled out in separate pilot programs such as Microsoft 365 in Tennessee and Google Apps in Oregon.

Microsoft Office 365 for Education

Microsoft Office 365 provides schools with free “business-class” email, sites, online document editing and storage, instant messaging, web conferencing, and 25 GB of personal storage. Furthermore, students and faculty are able to use any browser to create documents in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel—programs many are familiar with.

The downside to Microsoft 365 is the cost. While a free option is available (with a signed contract), a per-user monthly payment is required to access features such as Office Mobile, Office applications for PC or Mac, unlimited email storage and voicemail. More alarming is Microsoft’s inability to ensure 99.9% uptime without monthly payment, a feature that comes free with Google Apps.

Speaking of free…

Google Apps for Education

Perhaps Google’s largest selling point is that there are no actual sales involved. Google Apps is 100% free, with no hidden costs. With such features as cloud email, 30GB of storage, hosting, word processing and collaboration tools, Google is easily Microsoft’s strongest contender. Like Microsoft’s Office Suite, there is an existing familiarity with many of Google’s products such as Gmail, Chat, and Calendar.

Perhaps Google Apps’ greatest disadvantage is that it requires users to have (or create) a Google account. Since Google requires users to be 13 years old to sign up without parent consent, permission slips are required for students under the age of 13.


Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps boast equally robust security systems featuring multiple layers of authentication and encryption. However, while data stored within the cloud is safe from harm, the computers used to access the cloud may not be. School administrators can maintain security across the network by installing and updating antivirus software.

No matter what application educators end up allying with, the cloud is a powerful tool that can be used to retrieve real time information from anywhere in the world in just seconds, giving students an expanded worldview, the ability to collaborate with others easily, and most importantly—learn.

As CEO of Solvusoft, Jay Geater works to provide customers with effective and easy-to-use software designed to meet the needs of the common user.

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