Google said it has finished integrating Google Apps with BlackBerry Enterprise Server so that IT admins for Google Apps Premier and Education editions can synchronize business users’ Google Apps e-mail, calendar and contacts with applications on BlackBerry devices.
Research In Motion’s BlackBerry handheld devices are the de facto standard among corporate road warriors, thanks in great part to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which is lauded by IT administrators for its security and manageability features.
Accordingly, many experts said it was imperative for Google to integrate with the server if the company wanted the millions of RIM smartphone users to be able to have up-to-date access to Google’s Gmail, Calendar and contacts.
Google needs its collaboration applications to find purchase in the mobile enterprise if it has any designs on competing with collaboration giants Microsoft, IBM and Cisco Systems; all of these firms are plotting similar mobile computing courses in the business world.
As of Aug. 21, Google said Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server is now available for no additional charge.
The connector will push, or route, messages sent to Gmail in-boxes to BlackBerry devices within 1 minute. E-mails read and deleted on BlackBerry devices are marked as read and deleted in Gmail, and vice versa. E-mails archived and starred on BlackBerry devices are archived and starred in Gmail, and vice versa. BlackBerry folders are synchronized with labels in Gmail.
Users can also search for coworkers’ contact information from the global address list on their BlackBerry devices, and Gmail contacts are automatically synchronized with the BlackBerry address book. Users can also view their Google Calendar schedule with the native BlackBerry application, with one-way synchronization from Google Calendar to their BlackBerry devices.
However, two-way calendar synchronization, with the ability to accept, decline and schedule meetings from a BlackBerry device, is not available with this release. This is something many enterprise users require to keep in the loop.
“We are working on it,” Google Apps Engineer Anthony Lee said in a blog post. Lee also said the Google Apps team has tested the connector, first announced in May, extensively with select companies and universities, including Sanmina-SCI.