Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office Live

I have been looking into easy and inexpensive ways to create static websites, and I checked out the following two tools:

Google Apps
Microsoft Office Live

Both apps provide free web hosting with easy steps to purchase domain names. They both support online file storage and sharing, email, calendar, contact forms, and photo and video sharing, which is a fast and cost saving way to create a small business web portal, for both internal and external use.

After comparing the two apps, I found the following pros and cons of each tool

1. They both provide templates for building sites. Microsoft provides more templates in more categories, and changing colors and photos for the template is easy. Google has less templates, and not all templates are easy to customize, because of the heavy use of graphic features. However, Google let users publish their own websites which can be used as templates, although the quality of these sites varies. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

2. All Microsoft site template creates 4 standard pages for Home, About, Contact Us and Site map, but Google provide different page collection for different categories.  (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

3. In Microsoft Office Live, page editor and site designer are on the same page, which is much easier to use than Google, where site management and page editing is on different pages, which some page settings included on site management.  (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

4. Google template only has a left menu bar, while Microsoft has both a left and top menu bar, which gives user a lot more freedom in page design.  (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

5. Microsoft provides only 7 fonts, while Google has a full list of font selection. It’s only a slight advantage of google since users will have to create an image of the text if they want to use fancy font in Microsoft, which usually looks better than a browser rendered font.  (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

6. Google page width is customizable, while Microsoft has only a selection of 780px, 980px and 100%. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

7. Google page provides a search functionality, although it can only be displayed on the top right corner of the page with a standard text box and button whose style cannot be changed. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

8. Google has a Powered by Google site on the bottom of the page that cannot be hidden. Microsoft has a hideous bing search box on the top of the page and Powered by Office Live link on the bottom, but both can be hidden. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

9. The form on Google contact page saves the visitors’ input to a Google spreadsheet and emails update to site administrator. Microsoft contact form only emails the administrator. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

11. Google Apps integrated itself with Google Picasa, making image slide show very easy. Microsoft also provide image slide show but the images are maintained within Office Live. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

12. Microsoft is integrated with live blogging. Google has an anouncement page, which can be served as a blogging page, but the user has to login to leave comments. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

13. Microsoft provide video display and this feature is not in the free standard edition of Google app. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

14. Google Apps has a lot more gadgets uploaded by users, and the quality varies. Microsoft has fewer modules with better look and feel. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

15. Google Apps claims that it has a free pubsubhubbub service, although I could not find it anywhere, and well, I don’t even know what I should look for, but let’s give one point to Google for now. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

16. Google Apps does not have any site status, while Office Live has a well designed dashboard showing all kinds of status report, which is a huge plus on Microsoft side. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Microsoft)

17. Microsoft lets users put in key words for each page for Search Engine Optimization. Google doesn’t. (Of course, Google and SEO are always enemies.)

18. Microsoft has a site backup and restore function, which Google doesn’t have. (Supposingly Microsoft is better, but if the sites they hosted will be up and free as both apps proclaim, do we really need this?)

19. Google Apps can create multiple web sites under one login. Microsoft Office Live can only support one site per login, although it supports multiple domain. (Raymond Fu’s Pick: Google)

To conclude this blog, I am going to anounce that my winner is Microsoft. However, I do see a protential to build certain web sites for certain business using Google apps.


Xceed Consulting (by Google Apps)

Xceed Technology (by Microsoft Office Live)



  1. Hi Raymond,

    This is a very comprehensive article, you did a great job to outline those two’s differences. I am in the process to build my website, by using Google’s apps (thank you for your review).

    There is catch (you also mentioned it in your article). That Google has a Powered by Google site on the bottom of the page that cannot be hidden. However, by looking into the website you built, I didn’t see that problem. Could you share your experience on this? Thank you.

    All in all, this is a very good review on this topic.


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