Companies interested in document collaboration tools are likely to have a few contenders on their list. No business can afford to skimp on document collaboration, or employees won’t be able to share ideas, move projects forward, standardize processes and comply with regulations.
You’ll need a tool that is powerful enough for multiple users to create documentation in tandem, format docs to their heart’s content, and apply granular permissions to restrict content access.
That’s why many businesses will consider two top tools: Confluence by Atlassian and Google Docs. Both have some similarities regarding document collaboration, but there are some important differences too. It’s worth noting that both come with a free plan, but Google Docs is less restrictive and only limits your account based on storage space.
So, why would you choose Confluence over Google Docs or vice versa? In this article, we’re going to take a look at both tools, and discuss their different use cases.
Overview of Confluence
Confluence markets itself as a remote-friendly team workspace and can be generally described as internal company wiki software. While Confluence does have capabilities for collaboratively editing documents, the user experience is aimed at helping teams share knowledge. Confluence makes it easy to view which content you have access to, and you can drag and drop pages around quite simply.
Confluence comes in-built with dozens of templates that you can use to create documentation based on best practices. Content is well-organized and systematically placed into what Confluence calls pages and spaces, while individual access can be configured down to the granular level.
Teams can use Confluence to quickly collaborate on meeting notes, project documentation, and on a private wiki so that knowledge never gets lost. It has to be said that Confluence is more aimed at technical teams so it’s a good tool to consider if you want to create software documentation or similar.
- Team collaboration tools such as real-time co-editing, commenting, tagging, and assigning tasks to help teams work together
- Integrates with Google Drive so you can use both together if this suits your workflow
- Enterprise-grade security means you never have to worry about your data getting hacked
- Confluence has been designed with many integrations including other Atlassian products such as Jira and Trello
- Confluence has a relatively steep learning curve since it offers lots of functionality that users might want to take advantage of
- It isn’t easy to share documentation publicly and requires an advanced set-up
- Formatting features within Confluence are quite limited so you don’t have as much control over how you present your documentation
- There’s no way of communicating with teammates other than through writing comments on documents
For best documentation management and kb
Beyond the initial getting-used-to period, this is an easy, robust and professional tool and a must for all IT teams. With integration into other agile processes and quick documentation, this makes it a MUST-have tool.
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Overview of Google Docs
Google Docs is a document collaboration tool used by millions of individuals and companies to create, manage, and share documents. Although more limited in scope, Google Docs is comparable with Microsoft Word as a word processor, although it is solely accessible through the browser or app.
What stands out about Google Docs is its highly intuitive user interface, keeping it in line with other products in Google Workspace. Creating a new document is as simple as clicking a button, and all the formatting options are readily available in the toolbar. It has to be said that Google Docs is not aimed at creating an internal knowledge base, so pages cannot be customized to suit the company’s brand.
You can link documents together quite easily and create public or private links to the documentation with different levels of editing permissions. You can add specific people using their email addresses or simply share the link via some other method.
While Confluence is aimed at teams of users being able to work collaboratively together, each Google Docs account is specific to that individual user. There is no centralized repository of information unless you create an organization-specific Google account and ask users to log in.
Google Docs Pros
- Incredibly simple to use, increasing the likelihood of adoption
- The free version of Google Docs is feature-rich, making it an attractive option for companies operating on smaller budgets
- Provides offline access to documents for when you don’t have an internet connection
- Integrates with the rest of Google Workspace’s suite of apps, including Gmail, Keep and Meet to improve document creation
Google Docs Cons
- When you get to a certain volume of content in Google Docs it becomes unwieldy and hard to manage
- There’s no centralized dashboard where you can manage access permissions for individual files and folders
- It’s hard to get an overview of all the documents contained in Google Drive
- It’s aimed solely at document collaboration, meaning you’ll require a different tool if you want to create a knowledge base for your users
Easy to use and collaborate, super efficient
Pros: Working with google docs, alone or with a team is super easy. You can track changes, review docs, create templates and integrate other google suite types of docs
What is the Common Space they Share?
The reason we are considering both these tools together is their capabilities for document management and collaboration. Although there are big differences, both Google Docs and Confluence can be used to create and co-edit documents in real time, making it easy to share knowledge within a team and move projects forward.
Knowledge management is a real possibility for teams using Confluence or Google Docs because you have the ability to create folders and pages, which are subsequently shared with particular team members.
Both tools are also suitable for individuals who want to create a personal repository of information, and both come with a free plan. If you simply want to create notes for yourself and document things to remember for later, Confluence and Google Docs both offer this capability.
Detailed Feature Comparison
|No private hosting
|No private hosting
|Knowledge base (public or private)
|Private knowledge base
|No knowledge base
|Audience (enterprise or mid-size)
|Small, midsize, and enterprise
|Small to midsize
Other Alternatives to Consider
While Confluence and Google Docs are both adequate tools for internal documentation, another alternative you might want to consider is Document360. If you’ve never heard of Document360 before, then you should know that it has a reputation for being a great tool for creating an internal or external knowledge base.
With a rating of 4.7 stars based on 295 reviews on G2.com, Document360 is a solid choice for teams that want the flexibility to create, publish, manage and share the docs in a knowledge base without worrying about hosting knowledge base sites in another web server. It is simple and modest software for sharing your knowledge base and docs.
Document360 offers powerful features for creating internal documentation for your team while presenting users with an intuitive and streamlined interface that makes content production a breeze. Document360 was designed by a team that found the knowledge base market was sorely lacking in a tool that simply and easily allowed you to create documentation, ideally in Markdown.
With Document360, you can quickly create product help docs, technical documentation, online user guides, employee handbooks, and more. It’s suitable for an any-sized team that wants a feature-rich tool to enable them to develop professional-looking documentation. Compared to Confluence and Google Docs, we think Document360 has a better end-user experience because every knowledge base has been configured with users in mind.
If you want to present your content beautifully and effectively, Document360 is a great choice. It’s reliable and simple without requiring development resources to implement, meaning that even non-technical users can get the most out of Document360.
- WYSIWYG or Markdown editor for creating documentation with robust formatting features that include headlines, emphasis, italics, lists, images, and links
- Category Manager allows you to create a visible hierarchy for your documentation with the ability to reorganize content through drag-and-drop
- Customize landing pages with your brand colors, fonts, header images, logos, and domain, with the option to customize CSS for your own unique knowledge base
- Roles and permissions keep your knowledge base secure by controlling who has access to content down to the individual article level
- Versioning enables you to easily revert back to previous versions of your work and compare the changes that have been made
- Integrationswith top third-party apps that include Intercom, Livechat, Zendesk, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Chrome, Zapier, Heap and Olark
- Analytics and reporting tell you about the performance of your articles and user behavior
- You can create either an internal or external knowledge base with up to six layers of categories for your information
- Document360 requires absolutely no learning curve with an interface that’s as easy to use as Google Docs or Microsoft Word
- It’s very easy to configure access privileges to enable teams with various roles to access different parts of your knowledge base
- You can host more than one knowledge base on your Document360 account which allows you to cater to different audiences
- Document360 supports even large enterprise teams to write and edit content in the same workspace
- Editorial workflows enable writers to keep track of content in different stages, which can be a new article, that needs review, draft, and published
Compared to Confluence, Document360 has some clear benefits such as custom domains, article lifecycle management, and the ability to create a public knowledge base. Document360 gives you granular control over user access management and allows you to easily import your existing documentation from platforms like Confluence.
And with Google Docs, there is really no comparison between the functionality you get with Document360 as a professional knowledge base software. Google Docs is suitable for a certain level of documentation, but if you want to scale then you need to think about Document360 or similar solutions.
The easiest and best tool for KB
Very easy and intuitive tool for KB Gives complete ownership to writers to manage the end-to-end workflow of documentation Inbuilt image and table styles make work much easier SEO and Analytics give a broader understanding of how to design KB
Companies that are in the market for document collaboration tools may be seriously considering Confluence or Google Docs. Both tools offer some powerful functionality for creating documents and, most importantly, collaborative editing in real time.
However, if you want to take your documentation further and create something like an internal knowledge base, you need to consider an alternative such as Document360. As you start scaling your documentation, adopting a specialized knowledge base tool becomes more urgent.
Document360 is particularly suitable for centralized teams who want to build a repository of information, either for their teams or customers. It’s easy to perform bulk actions and manage high volumes of documentation simply.
An intuitive knowledge base software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!GET STARTED
Frequently Asked Questions
There are some features of Google Docs that overlap with knowledge management systems, such as create, manage, and share documents, but it is not usually considered a full-fledged knowledge management system.
Document360 is an excellent alternative to Confluence and Google Docs. It is knowledge base software that may be used to create an internal or external knowledge base. It has an easy-to-use interface that makes content creation a breeze and supports multiple features for team collaboration and customization.
With confluence you can only create private knowledge base and Google Docs is not full-fledged knowledge base. While comparing both doesn’t offer private hosting and lacks in customization and internal collaboration features.