Google announced today a new Google Apps feature that enables syncing with Microsoft Outlook mail, calendar and contacts data, giving Outlook users a way to use Google Apps without changing their behavior. It will launch worldwide this afternoon (but only available in English; Google said other languages will come later) for Google Apps Premiere Edition subscribers.
Luring loyal Outlook users into using Google Apps — in turn, putting pressure on Microsoft — is a smart move on Google’s part. The Outlook sync will only be available on Windows for now.
At the Google-hosted event this morning, Google Senior Product Manager Chris Vander Mey demonstrated the feature by showing how users can schedule a lunch meeting in Outlook and the appointment will simultaneously sync up in Google Apps. “We spent a long time making Outlook work really well,” he said. “That should tell you how committed we are.”