Gmail vs Outlook in 2022 - the Pros, Cons, and Differences
Gmail and Outlook are juggernauts of the email service providers, as are their parent companies Google and Microsoft. Combined, they have around 2 billion users, while the next largest email service, Yahoo, has approximately 200 million.
Most people are partial to one service or the other, but is one objectively better? Likely, the answer is no. These popular email providers have distinct advantages and disadvantages that we’ll discuss below, but it often comes down to what you are used to and your style. Check out our overview and choose the service that suits you best.
What Is Gmail?
Gmail refers both to the email service and the integrated apps that come with it – primarily the many functionalities of Google Drive. Google launched Gmail beta in 2004 but only got its stable version in 2009.
One of the pioneers of the internet, Paul Buchheit, was the leading developer of Gmail. Buchheit envisioned the modern email service via the internet as early as the 1990s but would not be the first to realize the idea.
What Is Outlook?
Microsoft Outlook is primarily a webmail service and a desktop email client, but it also features functions designed to help people manage emails and email accounts. These include an integrated task list, calendar, and contact list. Users can create a free account on the Outlook webpage or get one automatically by buying Microsoft Office products.
Outlook was fully launched in 2012. However, before that, Microsoft owned Hotmail, released back in 1996. In 2012 Microsoft merged Hotmail with Outlook, and users were allowed to change their domain.
Gmail vs Outlook
Gmail and Outlook provide similar services, and which one is better often comes down to personal preference. There are some key differences, but many are minor. Bellow, we compare and contrast them in seven categories relevant for users to help you choose.
1. Interface and Design
The design of an email app should allow for ease of use and a pleasant user experience, but ultimately it’s subjective and comes down to personal taste. Gmail looks more modern, while Outlook offers a more traditional look.
On the other hand, Gmail also has a basic view for slow connections that is very bare-bones and rustic. The design of both apps will appeal to some people, so take a look and choose what suits you best. You can access your email through any browser and mobile apps for Android and iOS.
The differences between the browser version and iOS are subtle, so you shouldn’t have any problems switching between them. At the same time, Google’s email service is friendly to third-party integration platforms, so you can integrate it with Focos for quicker accessibility. You can organize your inbox through the use of categories and labels.
All of the most used functions are easy to find – the search bar, compose an email, and categorize emails are all marked and visible. To sum up, Gmail’s clean interface is very user-friendly, and you should have no trouble using it, even if you are not familiar with it.
Similarly, you can access Outlook through a desktop browser or Android and iOS apps. Outlook’s interface offers more features – the top bar, or Ribbon, offers you multiple views.
You can access Mail, Contact, Tasks, Calendar and Notes. If you aren’t familiar with Outlook and wish to use it simply as an email service, many features may seem confusing and unnecessary.
Gmail’s interface is user-friendly, while Outlook may be confusing for new users – Gmail is the clear winner here.
2. How They Are Organized
Gmail uses categories and labels for organizing. You can place emails into specific categories and subcategories and mark them. You can label them as important and unimportant. The inbox has tabs that automatically categorize your emails by its standards, such as Social, Updates, Forums, and Promotions. It also protects your email address from spam emails by filtering them, making it easy to control them.
It places all conversation messages into a single line by default, which many users find appealing, but those used to Outlook may find confusing. The setting can be changed so that the conversations look more like those in Outlook.
Additionally, you can archive message threads. They will no longer appear in your inbox, but you can still search them, and if you receive a reply, it will automatically show up in your inbox. Also, thanks to its aesthetics, Gmail makes it easy to notice unread emails.
Outlook is a Microsoft app, so it shares similarities with its other products. Users familiar with standard WindowsOS will find the organizational scheme of Outlook natural and intuitive. You can sort your emails by creating folders and subfolders, allowing you to easily differentiate between work, personal activities, or even projects.
Important messages can be pinned to the top of a folder or flagged. Your messages will be single entries in your inbox by default – when you receive a reply, it will appear as a new message instead of a single line like in Gmail. Much like its counterpart, Outlook offers the option to archive messages, keeping your inbox clean.
The organizational schemes of both Gmail and Outlook are straightforward and intuitive, so there is no clear winner here. It comes down to your personal preference. If you are a regular Microsoft user, you might initially prefer Outlook, but after sending and receiving a few messages, Gmail will feel just as easy to use.
3. The Search Function
Undoubtedly, Gmail has a more advanced search feature. A basic search will find any word, phrase, or email address that you type in, while an advanced one lets you set different parameters for the search. You can look through different categories, labels, tabs, senders and recipients, date ranges, message sizes, and more.
Outlook offers a straightforward search function – type your desired phrase or email address and search through folders and messages. Searching through your contacts is done through a separate bar.
Unsurprisingly, the search engine juggernaut Google offers a more advanced search functionality on its email app. Yet, Outlook’s search option is efficient, so even if you choose Outlook, you won’t be missing much.
4. Features Offered
Gmail offers the essential functions of an email provider – you can organize your inbox, use search, delete and archive emails, but you don’t have in-built features like Contacts and Calendar. That’s by design choice, not due to any lack of ability to implement these features. Gmail is highly compatible with third-party apps, add-ons, and extensions.
You can quickly and easily integrate almost any extension you wish, such as Google Docs, providing all the features necessary for any circumstance. You can also uninstall any integrated app if you no longer need it. Moreover, Gmail has a built-in chat function you can use whenever you want.
On the other hand, Outlook offers more in-built features. By default, you have a Calendar and Contacts list. Moreover, you can set different options, called Rules, to manage the emails you receive. You can make email templates and have the Clean Up function to delete duplicate messages.
The downside of Outlook is that it’s not nearly as open to third-party app integrations and add-ons as Gmail. However, you can alleviate the rigidity of Outlook by integrating it with Focos – it will allow you to integrate other third-party apps you may need, bypassing Outlook’s lack of customizability.
If we’re looking at the basic versions of Gmail and Outlook, Outlook offers more features and functions, hands down. When it comes to the openness of integration for third-party apps, Outlook cannot match Gmail.
The winner comes down to your preference. If you want a basic version with more features, choose Outlook. But, if you’re looking for the possibility of integrating almost anything you can think of, opt for Gmail.
5. Which One Is More Secure?
Which service provider is more secure is impossible to evaluate, as the inner workings of the systems are secret, while the basic email security features offered to users are very similar. Both offer a two-step authentication process and allow you to enable trusted senders.
Gmail allows you to see when your account was last used, which is the only apparent difference. Both options encrypt outgoing emails. But, in Outlook, you need to check the option, while Gmail does it automatically.
As far as anyone can tell, Gmail and Outlook are comparable regarding security. Most likely, the security of your account will depend on the personal security measures you take, not on the degree of protection of the systems.
6. Storage Space
Gmail offers 15 GB of storage for free users, and Gmail, Google Drive, and Photos share it. Since Google Drive integrates perfectly with other Google’s services, you can expect no issues there. Users who pay get more storage space, starting with $6 per user per month for 30 GB cloud storage with Google Workspace Basic and ending with unlimited storage in the cloud with Google Workspace Enterprise.
Free Outlook users start with 5 GB of email storage space and can always buy more or subscribe to Microsoft 365. The OneDrive that Outlook uses for storage does not integrate as well as Google Drive does with Gmail, but it is still perfectly operating.
It’s a wash when it comes to storage space between Gmail and Outlook. They offer similar amounts of storage space, depending on the payment plan you choose.
Both Gmail and Outlook offer free versions and multiple payment plans for individual users. If you want to use the Outlook app and not just the web version, you must pay for Microsoft 365. You can access most Gmail’s features for free unless you want a business account.
There is no clear winner when it comes to cost, as you can choose what suits you best. The free versions will have ads, while the paying ones won’t. Try out the free versions and see if you are missing any features you think are essential, and go from there.
Regardless of which one of these popular email services you choose, you can’t make the wrong choice. Both are professionally designed and maintained and offer all the functions you need from an email provider.
It will likely all come down to your preference for Google or Microsoft products and your professional needs. If you are still missing some features after making your choice, integrate them with Focos and allow third-party apps to bridge the gap, all from a single platform.
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