Microsoft Whiteboard vs Google Jamboard: virtual whiteboard apps for Microsoft Teams

Whiteboards have always played a big role in our collaboration at work or at school, but that was only possible when everyone was physically at the same place. As work transitions to remote, whiteboards are replaced by their digital equivalent. In this article, we will discuss and compare two most popular whiteboard applications for Teams: Microsoft Whiteboard and Google Jamboard.

Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft is undoubtedly keen on following the latest trends and news on the Internet. This is quite the reason for the launch of its version of the online Microsoft Whiteboard. Initially, it was an application in the popular service Skype to help expand the possibilities of communication, exchanging files, images, handwritten notes with other users in a shared workspace in real time.

The developers have tried to use the advantages of similar applications and create new opportunities. For example, they introduced a whole arsenal of pens, markers and other gadgets.

Microsoft Whiteboard Preview. Credit: Microsoft

The video above, however, does not reflect all the latest features of the application. Microsoft Whiteboard has been updated with new features since September 2019 that include background formatting, snapping to objects, adding text, pinning to toolbars, exporting formats, accessibility testing, and communicative integration.

Microsoft Whiteboard. The collaborative digital canvas in Microsoft 365 for effective meetings and engaging learning. Credit: Microsoft

In the side panel on the right, you can choose the required background and layout, connect the required board format. Freehand sketches can be turned into a table or diagram. All changes are automatically saved to the server.

You can seamlessly insert PDF, Word or PowerPoint files into the Whiteboard, and when you load a particular document, you can even choose to insert individual pages or slides.

Microsoft Whiteboard has a smart pen feature. That is, by introducing uneven geometric shapes, the application quickly recognizes them and removes your “flaws”. This feature is useful for both PC and tablet users.

Click on the pen of your choice to open the palette to access the new colors and thickness modes. Credit: Microsoft

In the latest Microsoft Whiteboard update, you are able to manage different inks more efficiently. In other words, the update makes it easier for you to write in small letters, it also provides a thicker marker that in turn helps you make your notes stand out, and more:

  • Enhanced colour coding game with a new ink palette.
  • The smallest pen size is now thinner, making it easier to write small ones.
  • Selected dimensions are now thicker, making it easier to highlight your notes.
  • Ink improvements for multiple languages including German, Spanish and Dutch.

Lastly, Microsoft knows that not every device accepts pen input – and even so, not everyone has the neat handwriting. And while notes are great for entering comments, sometimes you need something more direct. For those who would rather enter text directly on the board, there is now a solution: just select the text input option from the context menu (right click / long press to view) and enter your content on the keyboard.

Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard is a multifunctional interactive service for holding brainstorms, meetings or conferences within the company. Jamboard allows you to quickly capture business ideas, notes and decisions. The service was created specifically to work on an interactive whiteboard, but also works on ordinary computers and smartphones.

Virtual collaboration with Google Jamboard. Credit: Google

The Jamboard work surface is a separate slide that cannot be resized. You can create up to 20 slides in one document. To fill and control elements on a slide, the user has several tools: brushes, eraser, cursor, sticker, inserting images, shapes, text and laser pointer. Brushes allow you to draw on the work surface, 4 types of brushes are available to the user – a pen, a felt-tip pen, a marker and a brush. Unlike in Microsoft Whiteboard, you can only change the colour of the brush.

The feature called “Sticker” allows you to create text notes and place them on the slide. The service allows you to post images from Google Image Search, insert local images and upload photos from Google Drive, and resize their rotation angle. With shapes, you can add shapes and fill them with colour (circle, square, month, etc.).

There is only a standard font is available for inserting text, but you can choose a format such as a title or plain text. The laser pointer leaves a mark on the user for a few seconds, so you can guide the lesson or point to the elements.

This is Jamboard. Credit: Google

Some of the unique features of Google Jamboard are:

  • Collaboration and tracking changes in real time
  • Changing the background to a custom image
  • Graphics tablet support
  • Saving slide in PNG format, or exporting the project to PDF.

Let’s compare

 Microsoft WhiteboardGoogle Jamboard
ToolsMicrosoft Whiteboard allows you to express your ideas with the help of pens and a highlighter. You can change both colour and thickness of those tools. You can also draw straight lines with the ruler tool with an eraser to fine-tune your scribbles. You can add sticky notes along with images from your computer or via Bing search and have your drawings move around with the selection tool.Pen, marker, highlighter brush, sticky notes. Can only change the colour.
Handwriting and shape recognitionInk to Shape and Ink to Table tools change your strokes into a shape or a clean table to represent your data.  One of the most impressive features of Google Jamboard is handwriting and shape detection.
CollaborationYou can create a shareable link with which other collaborators can join your workspace. The collaboration experience is seamless and the changes appear real-time.Google Jamboard allows to add people to you Jam with permission to edit or just read your Jam. You can connect to meetings with a meeting ID.
SharingThe changes you make to your whiteboard are saved automatically and you can share your drawing and planning by exporting it as a PNG image.Jams you own are saved in your Google Drive. Google Jamboard allows you to share your Jams via email or any such services in a PDF format or an image (by frames).

The final verdict

Google Jamboard excels at being cross-platform with it being available on the Web, iOS and Android, while Microsoft Whiteboard shines with its simpler UI, customizability and real-time sync and faster performance overall. Both apps are highly recommended for your collaborative needs, all you have to do is chose the one that fits you better.

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