With the rise in popularity of real-time communication apps like Slack, WhatsApp, and Skype, you may find it surprising that email is still the primary tool for communication at work – and with 3.9 billion users around the world, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Dominating that space are Gmail and Outlook – two of the most popular email providers in the world. But which one is right for you?
Let’s see how they compare.
Gmail vs. Outlook: Features
Outlook’s Folder and File System
Outlook has a traditional folder and file system, much like most other email service providers. Its familiarity makes onboarding easier.
One of the downsides, though, is that Outlook’s folder and file system can feel restrictive. Emails can only be assigned to one folder, which limits how effectively you can organize your messages.
In typical Google style, Gmail’s launch changed the face of email on account of its innovative labels and categories system. It can take a little time to wrap your head around, but Gmail labels wins on features and functionality, hands down. The ability to add layers of granularity to your inbox is head and shoulders above the folder and file system.
Gmail vs. Outlook: Design
Design can be very subjective. When it comes to choosing an email service provider, people are always going to have their own take on the look and feel that they prefer.
Today, Outlook arguably looks a little dated, while Gmail feels somewhat more cutting-edge.
The basic Gmail design:
The Outlook interface:
As design and feel are so subjective, it’s difficult to declare a winner for this round.
Winner: Personal Preference
Gmail vs. Outlook: Productivity
A recent study found that office workers receive around 121 emails a day, with that number set to rise to 126 by the end of 2020. So if you’re going to keep your inbox clutter-free and your emails answered, you need to be able to customize your workflow.
Add-ons and Extensions
Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular add-ons, extensions, and add-ins for the two services.
Right Inbox – Right Inbox thrives on helping people be more productive. There is a suite of tools that can help supercharge your inbox, from multiple signature management to customizable templates.
Crystal Knows – Have you ever wanted to discover more about someone, ahead of a key meeting? Crystal Knows can predict someone’s personality using only publicly-available data.
Voila Norbert – Norbert is a Chrome extension that helps you build lists and contact persons of interest to build resourceful relationships. It’s invaluable for tasks like sales and outreach.
Docsend for Outlook – Docsend is a popular tool for secure file and document sharing. You can see who is reading your files and how much of those files they actually read. This is especially useful if you’re sending out proposals.
FindTime – Unfortunately, meetings are unavoidable. The only thing worse than a meeting that runs on too long is the chain of emails that takes place before it, in order to arrange a date and time that suits everyone. FindTime streamlines the process of pinpointing a slot in which all attendees are free.
Evernote – If you’re an Evernote user, then their Outlook add-in is a great way to save time on projects, and move note-taking directly into your inbox.
Who wins this round?
Simple. Gmail has so many more options for customization that it wins hands down.
Additional Reading: 10 Best Gmail Extensions for 2020
Gmail vs. Outlook: Cost
Personal use of Outlook in your browser is free. Beware though – there are some restrictions on these accounts. Use of the app requires Office 365, for one, which is currently about $60 a year.
Gmail is also free to individual users (if you’re using it for work, you may need a paid account). As a standalone product, Gmail just squeaks past Outlook for the win here.
There are many things you need to take into consideration when choosing an email service, from storage to attachment limits.
It’s pretty apparent though, that if you want to stay on top of your emails in 2020, you have to choose Gmail (sorry, Microsoft).