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Google Looks to Lure Outlook Users With Sync Feature

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Google (s goog) announced today a new Google Apps feature that enables syncing with Microsoft (s msft) 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.”


24 Responses to “Google Looks to Lure Outlook Users With Sync Feature”

    • You can sync Outlook notes on an Android phone but the solution might not be as elegant as you like.

      Google stopped offering Notebook to new users after Jan 2009. CompanionLink (I’m using the Pro version), via the Internet, syncs and also has an erase all Google calendar and contacts and exports from Outlook into Google from Outlook:
      Outlook – Google:
      Calendar – Calendar
      Tasks – Calendar
      Contacts – Contacts
      Notes – Contacts This puts Notes as a Google Contact, with the note in the Contact’s Note area. The contact then shows title of the note as the title of the contact in google. If you can categorize on your phone, you can have a category for Contacts and a Category for Notes, to keep ’em separated.

      After syncing Outlook with Google on the Internet, Google then syncs wirelessly to the phone into Calendar and Contacts with Outlook content as noted above. The Google Calendar identifies the Task as a Task and has details and options.

      The erase all in Google option for the first “sync” prevents multiple entries because CL will add to the Google databases, not overwrite or merge with existing Google data.

      CL (pro at least) can be set to sync Outlook manually at automatically including at a time or during a time period.

      Before putting data from Outlook into Google with CL the first time, look at your Personal Folders, for duplicates. depending on previous software you have used, you can have archived and alternate databases for calendar, contacts (like deleted contacts in archive file). There is a short, not too detailed CL setup video that is decent enough but does not clarify the possibility during set up the importance in the Outlook configuration tab, of using the drop down menu for each Outlook item (contacts, Calendar, etc.). This is important to do because you might see Google Calender is mapped to sync with Outlook Calendar, for example. But if you look at the other options to map to in Outlook, you might see two or more databases all called “Calendar.” The first time I went with the default one selected, of 4 all with the same name, and got a 3 year old archived deleted calendar items file. Once I did some investigation of what each one was, it was easy to select the current file for each Outlook item (contacts, tasks, calendar, notes).

      • Paul Cook

        Do you know if this Notes moving is going to work with Android 2.0 (and therefor the new Verizon Droid)?
        This notes issue of not moving to a new phone would be a no go for me.

  1. Chris R

    I like Office, but I don’t like the price. I stopped using Outlook a couple years ago and never looked back.

    I guess this is a good bridge for those who are not comfortable with cloud computing, but from my experience; it is safer than having data stored on my PC.

  2. @Roger – but hasn’t this also made it possible for every corporate IT department to break their MS server dependency and move all of their corporate mail into the cloud (for free or does Goog charge corps for domain email) without affecting end-users desktop experience? Maybe I’m missing something here…

  3. Sorti

    I Just set this up with my hosted Google domain with a 2-way sync to my work exchange 2003 server and it worked perfect, added a test event via the Google web interface to my personal calendar and a few minutes after a sync it showed up on my work Blackberry (final leg of that syn happens through a BES at work)

  4. Roger Weeks

    Actually it just seems like Google made it possible for every corporate Outlook user to break their internal corporate security policies (which usually prohibit moving corporate data including email outside the corporate network).

  5. The main benefit for me would be the ability to sync my work calendar (Outlook) with my personal calendar (Google), which would mean my partner would finally be able to plan around the evenings when I’m working or at events!

  6. Deano

    Question is – will this work seamlessly with Mac Snow Leopard’s just announced “Exchange Support” for Mail, iCal, Address Book?

    That would be HUGE for Mac users, especially ones with iPhones. Right now I have to choose whether I want Google Contacts to sync to the iPhone OR Address Book, but not both.

    Also, while your at it Google, can you let me sync contacts between 2 Gmail / Google Apps accounts? Would be so easy, but a big win.

    • Deano

      It seems like they are not supporting anything buy Windows. I was hoping this would work well on Entourage but alas it doesn’t seem so.

      Regardless, I think it is a pretty big development in the coming together of web-and-desktop mail.

      I am going to try this one out on my test windows machine.