When it comes to email, there are a lot of choices out there. Some of the email services that are available are huge in scope and user base and others are very small or specialized. Two of the big contenders for the best email service are Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook.com formerly known as Windows Live Hotmail or Hotmail. But how do you compare these two giants? While they certainly have quite a few things in common, there are some differences, and how you view those differences will allow you to decide if you want to go with Gmail or Outlook Online.
Introduction to Gmail
Google’s Gmail service has been around for many years now and it is popular not only because it is easy to use, amazing at filtering spam and connected with Google plus, but also because it comes connected to a Google account and many people use other Google services as well as email.
Introduction to Outlook Online
Outlook Online or Outlook.com is the successor to Microsoft Live Hotmail service. Although Microsoft announced the transition in 2013, they are just now beginning to switch over the final batch of user accounts and phase out all mention of Hotmail completely.
Shared Features of Both
Obviously, the two services are fairly similar and will have a lot of things in common. One of the things that is close is the interface. Gmail used to be the clear winner when it comes to interface but Outlook is definitely competing much better now and may be the winner now.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Outlook Online and Gmail is that Gmail decided to do things very differently than all the other email services that are out there. Instead of separating into folders, which is what Outlook Online does as well as Yahoo and other mail services, Gmail allows you to create labels (and already has a number of default labels) instead. What this means is that an email doesn’t go into just a single folder but instead can be have multiple labels applied to it. For example, if you want updates from Facebook shown in your primary inbox, you can tag those emails as both primary and social.
Outlook.com also has an advantage over Gmail with one of their features however. With Outlook, you are able to sync a variety of Microsoft services with email including what is probably the most useful one, Microsoft Office products. Creating a document and saving it means that you have access to that document across all of your different devices, as long as you are signed in with your Microsoft email address.
Pros & Cons of Gmail
- You get the benefit of Gmail’s label system, which allows you to file multiple emails under multiple labels
- You have support for all of the various Google products that are under that same Google account – such as calendar, AdSense, your YouTube account and more
- You get powerful search functions and filing commands that have already been refined over several years
- You get what is probably the best spam filter available right now
- You get 15 gigabytes of storage space when it comes to Gmail, including all of the documents and other files that you have stored in Google drive. For most, it is much more than you will ever need
- You get earlier access to the newest features that Google can come up with on Google Labs
- You get an unlimited amount of storage space for photos so you can save your 15 GB for documents and emails
- You are able to use Google Drive and Docs with your Google account and while the products are not nearly as useful as Microsoft office products, they do have the advantage of saving every character instantly
- Gmail supports IMAP and POP email and it even has no problem with Microsoft outlook email
- Gmail allows you to attach up to 25 MB per email which is more than twice that of what Microsoft’s Outlook Online allows
- The Gmail interface just isn’t as good as the new Microsoft outlook interface. The Outlook interface is clean, slick and very modernistic and it makes the Gmail interface look dated
Pros & Cons of Outlook Online
- There is a lot of room to grow with Microsoft Outlook. The new service and features are relatively new which means they may surpass Gmail in the near future
- You get sync between all the mobile devices and computers that you have connected to the Internet and signed in with your Microsoft account – which includes being able to access documents that you have started on any device across all of your devices
- If you have an office 365 Subscription you get a massive amount of storage space – an entire terabyte
- The Microsoft Outlook interface is quite a bit nicer than the Gmail interface – it is much more attractive, slick and modern
- The Outlook Online spam filter is nowhere near as sophisticated as Gmail’s spam filter so more spam will get through and there may be more false positives
- If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription your storage space may be somewhat limited. Microsoft has not specifically stated how much space you get for storage but some experts are estimating a 5 GB
- Microsoft also supports IMAP and POP email but not as well
- you only can attach up to 10 MB per email with Microsoft Outlook
It is difficult to reach a conclusion because both of these services are great and your decision should really be based upon whether or not it is more Microsoft services or more Google services that you need. Right now, Gmail appears to be the better product with almost no disadvantages and a great deal of advantages. Microsoft also has a number of advantages but they also have a few disadvantages to balance it out. For most people, with a better spam filter, better storage higher attachment limit and all of the other things that Gmail offers, Google’s mail service is probably superior.