Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Part 12 Free and Cheap Software for the SOHO Office

Google vs. Zoho vs. Microsoft vs. others on the Cloud

This list began years ago as a comparison between Google and Zoho, grew as Microsoft began offering its Office Web Apps, and also now includes some of the many web applications now available. Note that Microsoft’s Office Web Apps are designed to be used alongside their installed Office counterparts, offering some limited functionality online.

Word Processing
ü  Google Writer
ü  Zoho Writer
ü  Microsoft Word (Office Web Apps)
ü  Adobe Buzzword
(the only online word processor using Postscript fonts)

ü  Google Spreadsheet
ü  Zoho Sheet
ü  Microsoft Excel (Office Web Apps)
ü  ThinkFree Office online
ü  Yozo Office online

Presentations / Slideshows
ü  Google Presentation
ü  Zoho Show
ü  Microsoft Powerpoint (Office Web Apps)
ü  ThinkFree Office online
ü  Yozo Office online
ü  SlideShare (includes online sharing community)
ü  SlideRocket

Notebook / Web Clipping / Research
ü  Google Notebook
ü  Zoho Notebook
ü  Microsoft OneNote (Office Web Apps)
ü  Evernote  
ü  Springpad  
ü  UberNote:

ü  Google Gmail
ü  Zoho Mail
ü  Microsoft Hotmail & Business Productivity Online Suite
ü  Yahoo! Mail
(plus many, many others)

ü  Google Gmail
ü  Zoho Mail (see also Contacts portion of Zoho CRM)
ü  Windows Live Hotmail

Calendars (private and shared)
ü  Google Calendar
ü  Zoho Calendar
ü  30 Boxes  
ü  Tungle   (calendar coordinator & meeting scheduler)

Chat / Internet Messaging
ü  Google Talk
ü  Zoho Chat
ü  Windows Live MSN Chat
ü  Kool IM

ü  Included in Google Sites
ü  Zoho Wiki

Database Applications
ü  Zoho Creator
ü  Microsoft SQL Server Express /

Database Analysis
ü  Zoho Reports

Project Management / Collaboration
ü  Zoho Projects (can be integrated with Google Docs)
ü  37 Signals' Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire   
ü  Huddle  
ü  Wiggio  
ü  Nozbe  
ü  Cozi (Family Organizer)
ü  AjaxWorkspace
ü  Liquid Planner
ü  TeamBox

Web Conferencing
ü  Google – Limited conferencing via Chat and Gmail Video Chat
ü  Zoho Meetings
ü  Microsoft Office Live Meeting

CRM / Customer Relationship Management
ü  Zoho CRM (may be used with Google Docs)
ü  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (Office Live Small Business)
ü  BatchBook

Personal Organizer / To Do Lists
ü  Zoho Planner
ü  Remember the Milk
ü  TeuxDeux
ü  Toodledo
ü  Hiveminder
ü  ToDoist
ü  Vitalist
Vitalist and Nozbe are based on the Getting Things Done (GTD) system.
Many other phone + web applications exist, too

Web Site Hosting
ü  Google Page Creator
ü  Microsoft Office Live Small Business
ü  SnapPages
Many other web site hosting solutions exist, too.

News Feed Reader (RSS & Atom)
ü  Google Reader
ü  Microsoft (available in Outlook and Internet Explorer)
Also available in other browsers and many downloadable programs.

Personalized Homepage
ü  iGoogle
ü  My Yahoo! (and many others)

HRIS (Human Resources Info Services) & Hiring Systems
ü  Zoho People (for existing staff)
ü  Zoho Recruit (for hiring services)

Business Suite
ü  Google Apps Premier Edition
ü  Zoho Business
ü  Microsoft Office Live Small Business & SkyDrive Services

ü  Zoho Invoice
ü  FreshBooks
ü  The Invoice Machine

Phone & Answering & Forwarding Services
ü  Google Voice

Social Networking Communications & Customer Services
ü  Zoho Discussions

Small Business Accounting
ü  Zoho Books
ü  OutRight (geared towards freelancers who report on Schedule C)

Software Development Tracking
ü  Zoho BugTracker

Conclusion: This is not an exhaustive list of online applications, but it is a good comparison of the types of services offered by Google and Zoho with links to other online office suites and similar independent services.

The value is in finding the applications that work best for you. Mix and match according to your needs and work style. The Google and Zoho applications are all free for individuals, as are many of the others. 

Microsoft applications work best when combined with their Office applications, which are fairly pricy compared with the other options discussed in this series.

To find earlier published Frugal Guidance blog posts about these software options, see:

To read the entire series on alternatives to Microsoft Office for the SOHO office, start with

Key words: Zoho, Google, Microsoft, applications, cloud, SOHO, office, online