Migrating to Microsoft Ecosystem from Google Ecosystem

By Juvar Abrera

Since 2016, I’ve been a Google hardcore fan. I used almost all the apps and tools made by Google as much as possible. From Search, Assistant, Gmail, Keep, Drive, Android, Chrome, Allo, Duo, Authenticator, Maps, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Trips, Hangouts, Home, Lens, Meet, Photos, Podcast, Snapseed, Task, to Translate. I’m sure there’s more but I can’t specify enough.

I was also a manager of Google Developer Group Philippines (GDGPH) and that made me use Google products even more. But just recently, I left GDGPH because I have to focus more on my projects at my work.

I have an Asus Zenbook that runs on Windows but unfortunately, it only has 8GB of RAM and 7th Gen Intel processor. As you know, I’m a developer and I run lots of apps. I usually open 3 Google Chrome windows with multiple tabs like: Gmail, Calendar, and Messenger pinned; Facebook; and lots of localhost and random sites when I work on a project. I also have an IDE opened, MySQL and Apache running, Google Sheets and Facebook page opened whenever I work for ClayedPH. Sometimes, I have Photoshop and XD opened for graphics and prototype when I work. Sometimes, I have all those windows up and running and my machine just… gives up.

From that problem, I tried not to use Chrome and I found out that there’s a Microsoft app store for Mail, Calendar, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and a lot more apps. I also tried to use Edge (I know), for localhosts and other stuff.

Just by using the Mail app, a mail client from Microsoft besides Outlook, I fell in love with its looks and features. And I said to myself, why not use Microsoft apps since I’m using Windows and take advantage of its features.

In addition to that, I made a little test on how much RAM is saved when I use Windows Apps vs Google’s Web Apps.

Google

I have these opened which I usually use. Inside Google Chrome, I have Gmail, Calendar, Slack, Facebook, Messages for Web, and Google Sheets opened. I have Apache and MySQL running, and an IDE opened. With these opened, I used 7.4 GB of RAM or 94% of my total RAM.

Microsoft

With Windows apps, I have more windows opened but with the same functions as for the Google side.

But, it only took 6.8GB of my RAM or 86% of its total. The difference may not be that big but at least there’s a difference where I can even open more apps that may use the same RAM as the other setup.

So, to get started using Microsoft ecosystem as my daily driver, I created a Microsoft account and used it as my primary mail. I bought myself an Office 365 with 1 Terabyte for files and photos on OneDrive. I transferred my Google Drive files to OneDrive. Good thing there is an option to export Docs, Slides and Sheets to Word, PowerPoint and Excel. I also transferred my Google Contacts to Outlook People. It took me days to do all of this. I wasn’t able to transfer more Google data like Photos, Calendar so I just have to keep them as they were for backup.

After using it for a month, here are my quick thoughts of using Microsoft products over Google products.

Microsoft’s Mail (Windows App) vs Gmail (Web App)
I like the overall design of the Mail Windows app and how easy it is to import external accounts like Gmail, work emails, and other personal emails. The experience is different and I just love the new experience. Although, Mail does not support extensions which I use for work like Mailvelope and Boomerang.

Outlook Calendar (Windows App) vs Google Calendar (Web App)
It’s kind the same for me. You can have multiple calendars, share your calendars and invite people to your appointment. Both calendars work.

Office Word/PowerPoint/Excel (Desktop App) vs Google Docs/Slides/Sheets (Web App)
Well, you need to subscribe to Office 365 in order to use Office apps while Google offers Docs for free. Functionality wise, I discovered some functions in Office that is not offered in Google Docs. Both can be synced smoothly and can be used offline. But you need to manually download Google Docs files in order to open it again in the future while Office is always ready to go on my desktop. Though, I’m not sure if there’s an option to always have all Docs, Sheets, and Slides in Google Drive available offline but as far as I know, and from the experiences I had with GDGPH, I think nope.

Microsoft OneDrive (Windows App) vs Google Drive (Web App)
I’m subscribed to Office 365 which gives me 1 Terabyte of storage. Google Drive, however, only has 15GB with 200MB for me buying two Asus Zenfones. With Office 365, there are features that is not offered in Drive which is password protection. I haven’t used it yet but it may be useful in the future. OneDrive has good integration with Office apps, same as Drive with Google Docs.

Microsoft OneDrive (Windows App) vs Google Photos (Web App)
Google Photos has unlimited storage for high quality photos and videos. OneDrive does not offer that but I think my 1 Terabyte of storage is enough to store my photos and videos. Both can search for photos of sunset, dogs, and other stuff which is great.

Microsoft Your Phone (Windows App) vs Google Messages (Web App)
The Your Phone app also has the same features of Google Messages except for one thing (at least that I know of). That’s sending a message using the second sim card. My phone has Globe and Smart in it and I can’t send messages using my Smart sim card. Your Phone also has a feature where you can see the 25 latest photos on your phone and use it right away.

Skype (Windows and Mobile app) vs Meet/Hangouts/Allo/Duo (Web and Mobile app)
We use Skype for work. I don’t really use Meet nor Hangouts nowadays. I can’t really give a comparison between these two apps but for sure both work great.

Microsoft To-Do (Windows App) vs Google Tasks & Google Reminders (Web App)
Google Tasks is still young. I like To-Do because of its features that is not offered in Taks like the My Day, where you can focus on your task that you want to do for the day. It can also suggest which tasks to do for the day. Reminders and Tasks is in To-Do where you can set the due date and set a reminder time separately. Like for example a task is due in 3 days but you want to be reminded tomorrow to do the task. This is really a helpful feature for me. You can also share your list of task to other people in To-Do. Both can have multiple lists, sub tasks, and integration with Calendar.

Microsoft OneNote (Windows App) vs Google Keep (Web App)
I like how you can be more organize with OneNote’s notebooks, sections, and pages. I also like how you can draw, add images, and add audio in line with the text. However in Google Keep, you can only attach it. There’s also a feature in OneNote where you can transform your writing into text. This made me want a convertible laptop with stylus like the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Bing vs Google Search
There’s no doubt that Google Search is still the best. When I do a quick search, I use Bing as it is my default search engine but when I don’t get my expected results, I switch to Google. This happens for like 2 times for every 10 searches.

Microsoft Edge vs Google Chrome
Ho ho ho! I’m making myself to use Edge and to be honest, it’s not that bad. I get the same experience. It’s fast and I can still use my extensions like LastPass. Edge also has some built-in features like Reading View and Add Notes to a Web Page which I don’t usually use but it’s nice to have it available for me. Though, when I develop a web application, there are some features for web developers that is not available in Edge. That’s why when I develop stuff, I use Chrome and its Developer Tools panel.

Microsoft Cortana vs Google Assistant
Cortana works for me because I just use it for simple tasks and I don’t usually use voice assistant on my phone. I use Google Assistant on our Google Homes at home but I noticed that over time, my Google Home gets stupider and I don’t know why.

Microsoft SwiftKey vs Google Keyboard
I like how both can have gesture input. It can also learn from what I am typing even if it is in Filipino. However, Google Keyboard does not print out Filipino words when I use gesture input. SwiftKey does it and it’s convenient for me.

Overall experience, I’m loving the Microsoft experience. It may not be the same as Google’s but for me, this works. I guess it’s also better to be savvy to multiple ecosystem.

I still use Google as my backup but I use it occasionally now while there are some Google apps that I continue to use like Google Maps since Microsoft’s version of maps is incomplete. Well, I use an Android phone because Windows phone failed.

So, do you have any tips (except for going back to Google)? Many users have this negative thought about Microsoft and their products. It may be that you heard it from someone or you used it a long time ago and never went back. Maybe it’s time to try it out (again) for yourself (not a trap). Thank you for reading! :)

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Developer at National Telehealth Center — University of the Philippines Manila