Google reports it has fixed its broken Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook plug-in, a messaging and collaboration software module geared to let Microsoft users access their Gmail e-mail, contacts and calendar content through Outlook. The move is a bid to get customers of enterprise applications off of their Exchange servers and stored in Google's cloud computing environment.
Microsoft Windows Desktop Search and Windows Live Hotmail users can rejoice.
The search tool and Webmail client are no longer broken when used with the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook plug-in,
Google released June 9 to help Microsoft Outlook users access their Google Apps
e-mail, contacts and calendars through Outlook.
intended the tool as a way for longtime Microsoft Outlook users to
continue to access their information via the familiar Outlook interface if
their companies switch to Google Apps. This is a crucial chess move for a
vendor trying to steal chunks of Microsoft
's enterprise collaboration user
Shortly after Google rolled out the product, Microsoft's Outlook programming team found bugs
relating to the plug-in. The tool disabled
Windows Desktop Search, keeping it from indexing and providing search
functionality for Outlook data. The software module also disabled some
functionality in Outlook for users of the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector,
which syncs Windows Live Hotmail with Outlook.
These glitches have been fixed, according to Chris Vander Mey, Google Apps senior product manager,
"The Windows Desktop Search feature now works, so you can choose between
the native Outlook search, which has been available since launch, and Windows
Desktop Search to find information in Outlook. We've also worked with them to
add support for accessing Windows Live Hotmail via the Microsoft Office Outlook
Mey also said Google had improved the plug-in, which may be downloaded here,
in other ways. He and his team "added an option to let users enable or
disable auto-archive during installation, improved the two-way synchronization
of notes in contacts and improved our installation to make it [clearer] where
data in other Outlook accounts is located."
The programmer also said businesses have come calling about moving from
their Microsoft Exchange environments to Google Apps. To answer some of those
questions, Google has created a special Google Apps resource site
to serve as a hub of information
for businesses thinking of moving from Exchange.
The site comes across as an aggressive marketing tactic, exhorting customers
to "Switch to Google. Save money. Avoid hassles ... Spend a fraction of
what Microsoft Exchange costs. For $50 per user per year, get anti-virus and
spam protection, 25GB e-mail inboxes, calendar, IM, video chat and much more.
Collaboration tools also included."
Google's expeditious fix on the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook tool
and this resource site underscore how important Google clearly feels it is to
knock Exchange from the top of the e-mail server heap. This is a position
Microsoft has cultivated over time.
In a recent interview with eWEEK, Google Apps Senior Product Manager Rajen Sheth said,
"There are a set of users that have been
using Outlook for 10, 15 years and they don't want to change. That vocal
minority can sink the deployment for everybody. So it's in our best interests
to make all of the users happy."