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Choosing Between Gmail and Groupwise

written by: Elton Gahr•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 8/30/2011

Whether looking for a better email client for yourself or a business the decision is important. A single feature can make everything far easier. Whether this is the ability to log onto your email from anywhere or being able to run your own server the question of Gmail vs Groupwise is important.

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    Email has become a vital form of communication for many individuals and businesses. This makes deciding between email clients important. Both Gmail and Groupwise have features which could be useful and the choice could save a lot of time and money. This makes that decision one that must be considered carefully.

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    Cost

    gmail 

    For most people the first concern when looking at an email client is the cost. This is the biggest advantage that Gmail has over Groupwise for the individual. Google gives Gmail away for free with only a few very minor adds. Groupwise is not meant for the individual and the base license price is 143 dollars plus 33 dollars for maintenance. This means that for the individual there really isn’t a question of Gmail vs Groupwise.

    For businesses the question is entirely different. If you want similar functionality for using Gmail for your business there is a cost. This cost is 5 dollars a month per user or 50 dollars per year. This makes Groupwise considerably more competitive in price for businesses. This means that in a vast majority of cases businesses are going to be better off remaining with the service they have, but new businesses are likely going to be marginally better off with Google’s Gmail especially if they don't want to run their own servers.

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    Mobility

    One of the primary advantages of Gmail is that you don’t need to download anything to use it. Any computer in the world that has an internet browser will allow you access to your email. Yet while more people know that Gmail can do this Groupwise has a web access feature. These will have to be set up and so takes a bit more work, but it can be done.

    Both of these programs also have mobile apps so you can get your email on your phone or tablet. If you have an android device Gmail will almost certainly be easier to set up for your phone, but on any other device the difference between these is entirely based on the apps and once they are set up the differances become very minor. Still the advantage for most people will be Gmail.

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    Speed

    For anyone who uses email a lot speed becomes a major point. In the case of downloading email these will be very similar in a vast majority of cases and affected more by internet speed than either of these programs. Where there is a more notable difference is in the ability to search archived emails. With the default settings and searching large numbers of emails Gmail is going to be considerably faster because it is indexed automatically allowing you to search thousands of emails in minutes rather than hours. These options can be set up for Groupwise as well, but for most people gmail will simply be faster.

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    Interface

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    Both Google and Groupmail have online clients and while there are differences in these they are not significant enough to truly matter. Both make downloading and reading email from a browser simple enough. Where Groupmail has a small advantage is that you can also download a software client. For those who prefer to have their browser and email separate or simply don't want to read email in their browser this is worthwhile. This extra option gives a major advantage to groupwise especially in offices that need to have open communication all the time.

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    Reliability

    Downtime is a major problem for computers. Businesses grind to a halt if the email is down. According to studies done by Radicati Group (hired by Google) Groupwise is the second most reliable of the email choices, but is still down four times more than Gmail. The impartiality of this study can be questioned, but difference is between about 10 minutes of downtime a month for Gmail to 30 minutes for Groupwise which while worth noting isn't game changing. In addition most of the difference in that time is in planned downtime which Gmail does not have. Since planned downtimes will generally not interfere with work the reliability difference between these two is not really big enough to matter.

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    Other Features

    For many businesses the primary differance are going to be in the features that one has that the other does not. On Googles side is the ability to connect it with other Google services such as the calendar and Google Docs, better spam filtering and the ability to tag emails. For Groupmail the ability to run your own server gives a bit more control over email. It also gives you the ability to see if the recipient read your email, let you send exe files and has a downloadable client.

    The value of these extra features depends largely on how email is used in a company, but in most cases the ability to filter out spam is going to be vital while the ability to use either a program to access email or the internet is less likely to be necessary.

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    The question of using GroupWise or Gmail is one that is easy for the individual user. The cost and difficulty of setting up GroupWise simply eliminates it from the competition. Where this becomes a bit more complicated is for the systems administrator. The answer to this largely comes down to a few specific features. Gmail is created for individuals to communicate while GroupWise is focused more on people who want to run their own email server. Still, for any but the largest of businesses Gmail will be a good, simple and efficient choice.

References

  • Images, screen captures from author's computer
  • Source, author's own experience
  • Source, GoogleBlog, http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/what-we-learned-from-1-million.html