Microsoft Office vs Google Docs

Microsoft Office is better than Google Docs in almost every way.

The Office interface is fresher – it looks and feels better. Office has way more features, and the native apps are way more sophisticated on Windows, Mac, iOS, and even Android. Heck, even the Office web apps look better than Google Docs. Again, it’s just better.

EXCEPT for one thing …

I remember my friend Rory riffing on the stupidest question in all of software: Do you want to save? Rory would practically yell at his screen, “Of course I want to save! You’re a computer – just save the damn thing and then make me work to delete it if I need to!”

That was two decades ago, and Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint still ask me if I want to save the damn file. Google Docs does not. I know it’s difficult to change features that are entrenched with users, but c’mon, Microsoft!

This particularly becomes an issue when you move between devices. I have a few spreadsheets that I use on my computer and on my phone. This is maddening with Excel, because I have to remember to save and exit the file on one device (even on my phone!) if I want to use it on the other.

For that one simple reason, I’ve mostly switched to Google Docs, an app I like less in every other way.

That’s a humbling reminder to me … what one feature in Moraware could cause our customers to bolt? What one feature in your product could cause your customers to leave?

4 thoughts on “Microsoft Office vs Google Docs

  1. Andy Brice

    Hyper Plan saves automatically. A few customers have told me they really don’t like it. but you can’t please everyone.

    The main issue I have struggled with is how to duplicate a file. I think it is confusing to save ‘file>save as’ but no ‘file>save’. In the end I added ‘file>duplicate file’. But this also seems to have confused a few people.

    1. pfoley Post author

      Certainly, you can’t please everyone … but I think saving automatically pleases more.

      Hadn’t thought about the duplicating problem! Your solution seems reasonable. If ever you find a better one, let me know 😉

  2. Dan Thomas

    “Office has way more features”
    Don’t be MS’d into thinking more features = better. The success of the App Store model is, in part, down to the enabling of smaller, focused task based apps vs all-encompassing behemoths. MS Office is absolutely rife with feature bloat. Features that will most likely never see the light of day and that create an intimidating and unapproachable experience to new users. That said, Google Docs isn’t much better as it’s place in the G ecosystem becomes sprawling and equally overwhelming.

    Agree on the saving feature though. Like Brice has experienced some users won’t like it at first because they’ve been conditioned by decades of save prompts but that’s just a matter of time. They probably haven’t realised most of the settings on their mobile phone never prompt them to save…

    1. pfoley Post author

      I couldn’t agree more, Dan. The App Store model has done wonders for getting people (users and devs) to think about doing one thing well again (although, more and more apps are starting to seem bloated, too).

      In the end, it comes back to the old concept that “people don’t care about your drill – they just want holes” … (most) users couldn’t care less about software – they just want their problem solved.

      Thanks for replying!


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