Google Syncs Google Apps With Outloook

By  |  Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

Google Apps LogoI’m at a Google Apps press event at San Francisco’s Clift hotel, where Google execs are talking up Google Apps as a Microsoft Office alternative for big companies. They’re bragging about their productivity apps (one rep just said that Gmail is the world’s best e-mail app, period) and touting large companies that have deployed Apps to thousands of users. But the morning’s big news involves something Google is doing to help companies keep on using part of Office–namely Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook. It’s a piece of software that lets companies stop using Microsoft’s Exchange Server, but keep on allowing users to run Outlook. As the name suggests, it does so by letting Outlook sync with Google Apps. (It runs on Windows and is now included with the for-pay Premier and educational versions of Google Apps.)

Why would anyone want to keep using Outlook if Gmail is so great? Representatives from big Google Apps customers such as Genentech are here at the event, and they’re saying that some users within their organizations are simply comfortable with Outlook and have no desire to give it up. Apps Sync lets them continue to wrangle e-mail and calendaring in Outlook, and silently syncs messages, folders, appointments, and other data to and from the cloud, so it’s available within both Outlook and Google Apps services such as Gmail and Google Calendar. Companies also get access to all the other features and services that Apps makes possible, such as push Gmail for BlackBerry phones.

Google’s move here is an interesting reflection of the real world, which is one in which Microsoft Office is an undeniable fact of life. I like Google Apps–hey, I’m a customer myself–but think Google has a major challenge ahead of it if it’s trying to lure a meaningful percentage of the world’s companies away from Office. (The company won’t disclose how many paying users Apps has.) Living with Office rather than trying to utterly replace it makes a lot of sense.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Altan Khendup Says:

    I use both apps a lot and personally find Google apps much more appealing due to ease of use. Office is the dominant form but I am not really sure how long it will last considering how infrequently the younger generations use clients like Outlook. I think this is potentially more a generational element where older users in larger businesses have longed lived with Outlook. There may be a more gradual change/shift away from Outlook and other MS products as younger generations become more influenced by alternatives and then influence these companies as they move into the professional world. We’ll see I suppose.

  2. Disputatore Says:

    I use both Outlook and GMail. I follow a tree hierarchy philosophy in Outlook and the search philosophy combined with tagging for GMail. I’m starting to prefer the later since it’s much more versatile. Unfortunately I can’t adopt the same for Outlook since it’s search is very slow and the tagging process is not practical. OTOH I don’t feel comfortable migrating all my mail to the cloud.

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