Gmail and Outlook are the most widely used email services today. Gmail is the behemoth with 1.8 billion users, compared to Outlook’s 400 million users. When it comes to deciding which one is best for yourself and your business, there’s a lot of different factors to consider. Every team has different needs, and while both services serve the same purpose, it’s wise to research what’s best for you.
What is Gmail?
Google launched their email service on Thursday, April 1, 2004 — over 18 years ago. It was groundbreaking news that the search behemoth was launching their own email service, and some even took it to be an April fool’s joke. Aside from the launch date, it was the features which Gmail was promising. They were offering 1GB of free storage, which was 500 times more than Hotmail had at the time!
Gmail turned out to be very real, and very successful. With its simple interface, quick email searches, and other advanced features, it quickly blew away all its nearest competitors. I still remember the buzz when it launched, with someone telling me “you’ll never have to delete an email again.”
Since its launch, it’s grown to be the biggest email provider in the world, innovating while staying true to its initial appeal, and always integrating with Google’s other suite of apps.
What is Outlook?
Outlook initially launched as Hotmail (a reference to HTML, the language used in the world wide web) in 1996 (26 years ago). In 1997, Bill Gates bought Hotmail with the vision of integrating it with the other software Microsoft offered. It established the age of free consumer email providers, laying the foundation for everything we know about email today.
While it underwent some rebrands, it eventually was reborn as Outlook in 2012. It remained the most popular email provider until 2015, when Gmail eventually overtook it with 425 million active users.
While it may not be the biggest, it’s still a popular choice for many individuals and businesses, integrating with the suite of Microsoft apps and software.
Is Gmail or Outlook better in 2022?
To guide you to the right answer for you and your needs, let’s take a look at the features offered by both services.
Interface and ease-of-use
As one of the main factors which led to Gmail’s success, their user interface remains one of the easiest to navigate and work with. You can easily scroll through your inbox and messages, and if you're looking for a specific message or conversation, you can use the search bar at the top of the page. Powerful filters allow you to find specific emails easily, even if you’ve got a bloated inbox.
With more on the screen, the Outlook interface can feel a little cramped. With two views for emails, ‘Focused’ and ‘Other’, it aims to choose the most relevant emails for you to see, while filtering out any other emails which are less important. It offers a search function with filters to help you find emails when you need them.
Both Outlook and Gmail offer very similar features, including customizable email templates, the ability to group and delete messages, filtering to folders, and more. Both offer email archiving to remove emails from your main inbox that you don’t want to delete, but Gmail differs in that it moves archived emails to an ‘All Mail’ folder, instead of one actually called ‘Archive’ like Outlook does. This can be a little bit confusing. Outlook’s calendar and contacts are also built into outlook itself, whereas Google’s calendar and contacts are separate.
Gmail offers 15 GB of storage to all free accounts. With some inbox management and deletion of old emails, this can be more than enough for most everyday personal users. If you let your inbox get filled up and disorganized, it can run out quite quickly. Bear in mind that this storage is also shared across other Google services such as Google Drive and Google Photos, which could impact how quickly your storage runs out.
You can purchase extra storage depending on your needs (Annual discount of up to 17% on all options):
100 GB for $1.99 a month.
200 GB for $2.99 a month.
2 TB for $9.99 a month.
5 TB for $24.99 a month.
Google Workspace Storage
If you upgrade to Google’s paid Workspace plan, you’ll have higher limits depending on what tier your organization uses, ranging from 30GB for the bottom tier all the way up to unlimited storage for the top tier.
Outlook offers 15 GB of storage for free accounts. Again, this is enough for personal users for some time, as long as you manage your inbox efficiently. You can upgrade to a Microsoft 365 personal account for $6.99 a month, which gives you 50GB. Business plans expand this further depending on your tier, going up to a few TB.
Both Gmail and Outlook offer the ability to schedule an email to be delivered at a later date. Both options are also accessed in exactly the same way, and they are both just as easy to use.
Security and Privacy
Gmail and Outlook both have robust security and privacy features. It can be difficult to compare them without access to what goes on under the surface. If we analyze surface-level security features, we see that they both have strong spam filters, both offer 2-factor authentication, and both have a strong commitment to privacy.
Outlook offers integrations, which they call ‘connectors.’ They include connectors for Trello, GitHub, Asana, and more. There’s also add-ons such as Grammarly, Evernote and Boomerang. The main downside for Outlook is that connectors are not available for the web version of the platform, only the actual downloaded application.
Gmail has a giant number of extensions, and they can all be installed on their Chrome browser. There’s also add-ons that integrate directly with Gmail, such as Slack, Zoom and Evernote.
The Gmail vs. Outlook debate has been going on for quite some time now, and as with all things, it comes down to a personal choice. Although Outlook was launched in 1996 and has been quite popular, it is still struggling to come up to the mark set by Gmail. However, with the recent updates added to its interface, it looks like Outlook is finally getting on the right track. The only way to know is to try them out both for yourself and your team!