I frequent Quora, mostly answering technology questions and trying not to get drawn into irrational debates. Every now and then I publish answers I have provided to my blog. This question was interesting as it both misses the point about Microsoft Teams and focuses on reliability rather than just features or some arbitrary view of ‘better’ (there are many that try to compare Teams with Zoom, focusing only on the video meeting capabilities, for example).
Which one is reliable, Google Chat or MS Teams?
It’s a bit of a challenging comparison. It’s like asking which is reliable, a toothpick or a Swiss Army Knife. For clarity, Google Chat is the toothpick; and it does just one thing and does it pretty well; however a toothpick can’t pare wood, open bottles, file metal, cut paper… you hopefully see the extended metaphor.
MS Teams has its frustrations.
- The desktop client occasionally has trouble starting (I have a very complex, multi-tenanted, multi-identity environment, to be fair), getting stuck in an identity loop which I have to resolve by launching the web client first.
- There have been times when chats arrive out of sequence in some team area channels.
- Some UI decisions are poorly done (like putting the close image button directly over the Leave meeting button). But that’s the price of sophistication initially.
- Switching tenants in the desktop client requires logging out and logging in again.
- It resolutely refuses to place my most commonly used identity on the pick list of log in identities, so has to be added manually every time.
Teams is complex and not everything is perfect.
If the only thing a person or team needs is chat then it is possible Google Chat is more reliable or possibly even better suited as it focuses on the one job they need. It would be considered a best of breed rather than broadly integrated application in this regard and such things have their place. However, if the only thing needed is chat then the needs are probably not very sophisticated and one might want to look to something secure like Signal.
One needs to be careful of the definition of ‘reliable’ of course. I would want to state or agree what the criteria for reliability actually are before making any statements that compare products. My intuition says that reliability is less about whether there are any defects or weaknesses and more about whether these ever let you down when it matters. Teams has come close to not launching or not letting me authenticate when I have needed to, but ultimately has never broken while I have been using it despite being a member of 6 different tenants and guest on half a dozen more. Nor has it ever forced an update on me when I have needed to do something else.
We use Teams in all my companies, it’s never let us down and it has reduced internal email by 90%, while letting us continue to run our businesses without a hitch through the lockdown years. We use Teams chat and it has never let us down, but we also use it for its full breadth of features and that makes all the difference.