Google Forms vs. Google Surveys

As the Pollfish team is keenly aware, the glut of survey platforms vying for your attention has reached critical mass. 

There are just so many of them! 

And in our travels around the interwebs, we have come across some understandable confusion around these different survey platforms. 

What do they do that is so different from each other? And which one might be for me? 

But no would-be market researcher appears more (rightfully) confused than those considering Google. 

Why is Google so confusing? 

To illustrate the issue here, go to Google now. Search for Google Surveys. 

When you do, you should see three results at the top of the SERP: Google Surveys, Google Forms, and Google Opinion Rewards.


Google has three distinct products, all related to taking, creating or distributing surveys. And because they are Google, all three show up for the same search term. 

To make things even more confusing, one of these products (Google Surveys) underwent a name change three years ago. The product was previously known as Google Consumer Surveys. 

Because of this, search results and paid ads for Google Consumer Surveys are still live, pointing users to two additional destinations. 

All of this has left many researchers confused about which product was which.


Why does Google have so many products? 

Each of these survey products serves entirely different functions, with different use cases and customer pools. 

Unfortunately, this is not readily apparent. 

If you dig into these products a bit further however, you will uncover a common issue in the world of Market Research technology: the difference between Customers and Consumers.

Customers vs. Consumers

Most market research technology platforms are designed to help you do one of two things: create a survey to distribute to the customers you already have–through existing email lists, social media channels, embedded on a website, etc–or help you distribute a survey you have created to potentially in-market consumers. 

Google has created a product for each of these use cases. 

Google Forms

Google Forms is a survey administration app that is included in the Google Drive office suite along with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Forms feature all of the collaboration and sharing features found in Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Because of its relative ease of use and its inclusion in the Google Drive suite of products used by many businesses and educational institutions, Google Forms has found a foothold with teachers, freelance business owners and even weekend warriors trying to organize a weekly soccer game.

In short, if you need to create a quick questionnaire and distribute it to a group of people you are already connected with, Google Forms is a great choice. 


A common issue in the world of Market Research technology: the difference between Customers and Consumers. Click To Tweet


Google Surveys (Formerly Google Consumer Surveys)

Google Surveys is a business product by Google that facilitates customized market research. The product was designed by Google as an alternative to internet pay walls for websites that publish content. 

Surveys act as paywalls between users and content they are hoping to read. Google Surveys allow publishers like Pandora, AdWeek, and the New York Daily News to monetize certain content they’d rather not give away for free.

Unfortunately, like many survey products who try to collect responses online, Google Surveys often comes up short of being able to deliver enough respondents to meet demand. 

So, just as Survey Monkey does, Google must resort to paying respondents. That’s where their third product comes in. 

Google Opinion Rewards

When their paywall service doesn’t produce enough respondents to fill demand, Google does what many survey technology companies do: they pay respondents. 

Like SurveyMonkey Rewards, Google Opinion Rewards is an app that offers monetary incentive to fill out surveys. These apps are billed as entirely different products, marketed exclusively as ways the average consumer can make some quick cash. 

Also like Survey Monkey, Google makes little to no mention of this in documentation around their Google Surveys product. 


If you need to create a quick questionnaire and distribute it to a group of people you are already connected with, Google Forms is a great choice. Click To Tweet


Methodology Concerns

Researchers have long questioned the validity of many online survey products. That’s because, while the practice of collecting survey results somewhat organically and then supplementing with paid respondents is a vast improvement over traditional, legacy methods like phone and paper surveys, this method has serious data quality issues.

For one, paying respondents for answers opens your survey up to potential fraud or disengaged answers. This practice incentivizes the user to answer the survey as fast as possible in order to get paid and move on to the next survey. 

Furthermore, many survey platforms do not have a way of vetting responses to discard obvious straightlining, partial responses, and other data quality issues. 

As for Google Surveys, their paywalls cannot be circumvented. Users must complete the survey in order to get to the content they want to read. 

This removes choice from the user as to whether they want to participate or not. This again encourages users to rush through and not take the time to consider their answers.

Pollfish vs. Everybody

Pollfish does things a little differently. We partner with app publishers around the world to deliver your survey to engaged app users, providing a wider audience at a fraction of the cost.

In exchange for taking your survey, we offer in-app incentives (extra lives in a game, premium content on a news app). All surveys are completely voluntary for the user, so users agree to participate without losing access to their favorite apps. 

Surveys are created with online survey design best practices and fully optimized for mobile so they don’t disrupt the user’s app-based experience.

We save a bundle by not paying participants from a patchwork of panel companies around the world. And we pass those savings on to you.

There are plenty more reasons to choose Pollfish over Google Surveys. To learn more, check out our full product comparison today!