The Cloud is what Google intends to be the selling point of Google Docs. Google has thrown in many tweaks in that one may find convenient, if one is not already used to the Microsoft Office way of life. Both continue to garner users and supporters at a blinding rate. Find out what separates the two makes of giants from each other.
Comparing The Two
Starting the debate with simple topics, the sign-up procedure, many will find Google Docs to be better in terms of speed and simplicity. It is a relatively simple affair to join the Google cohorts, because they have made the interface so. All it takes is a Google account. Microsoft, on the other hand, in a bid to target the larger businesses, makes it a little difficult to start off.
In a word, ribbon. The famed Microsoft ribbon continues to gain favor for Office 365, as it did for all previous Microsoft endeavors. Face it, even if you wanted to choose Google Docs, you'd still find it easier to use Microsoft Office, because you've been using it before. The ease of use is what makes it the crowd favorite.
If you're someone who just needs the basics of the productivity suites, you may go for Microsoft. Office 365 contains all that you will need, arranged in a simple yet descriptive range. The reason that Microsoft takes lesser time to get you started may be because you're already used to it. Office 365 gives a better template range, with the selection grid opening up at the beginning of PowerPoint creation. Google Docs, on the other hand, provides a more detailed usability on some parts, like a side-panel for all edit history for an editing-oriented production.
For straight enough reasons, it will be easier to transfer documents from Office 365 to MS Office. There will be problems when you try to get Google Docs paperwork onto the MS Office, since both have different formatting standards.
Placing your documents online will be easier on Google Docs. It consumes lesser bandwidth as it keeps things simpler on the outside. Here, details like the ribbon may make uploading slower for Office 365 users.
This may be a negligible point, since the solution is simple enough. Office 365, when used on Firefox, may give you problems regarding logging in. This may be related to the cookies, clearing them up might help. Or else just switch browsers.
Overall Browser Compatibility
This one's a no-brainer. Each one will work best when used on the respective browser. Google Docs will work best on Chrome and Office 365 on Internet Explorer. Google has claimed that some features on Google Docs get disabled on Internet Explorer, while Office seems to work just fine on Chrome. Both work properly on Firefox, with the above login problem for Office 365.
This is what Google aimed for to start with, and this is where it definitely outshines, or so you would think. Yes, Google Docs does have instant accessibility through a Google account, and yes they have integrated Google Voice and Google Chat into it, color-coding all those using a file at the same time, making connectivity a breeze. But, Office 365 has integrated Lync 2010, which might give the edge to Microsoft.
The basic version of Office 365 is for $6 per user per month in the Professional and Small Business plan, $10 to $27 per user per month for the Medium Business and Enterprise version. Google Docs is free. Google only charges $50 per user per month for a Business account on Google Apps.
All in all, I think Google Docs gives the user a bit more fluidity. But, in the long run, the only thing Google Docs can hold against Microsoft's Office 365 is its price. Otherwise, Office 365 brings home the bacon on almost every round.