Google is rolling out Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which integrates Microsoft Outlook into Google Apps Premier and Education editions. It marks yet another step in Google's quest to expand its enterprise functionality.
Features in Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which was announced June 9, include synchronization between e-mail, calendar and contacts; free/busy lookup and Global Address List functionality; and a two-click data migration tool that allows employees to copy data from Exchange or Outlook into Google Apps.
"Many business users prefer Gmail's interface and features to products they've used in the past," Eric Orth, software engineer for the Google Apps team, wrote in a June 9 corporate blog post. "But sometimes there are people who just love Outlook. For them, we've developed Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook. It enables Outlook users to connect to Google Apps for business e-mail, contacts and calendar."
Google has been aggressively moving into the enterprise throughout 2009. In February, in a competitive bid against similar Microsoft and Yahoo products that let users work with their applications offline, Google announced that its users could thenceforth access Calendar for Google Apps and Gmail without being connected to the Web. The offline calendar is available to users of Google Apps Standard, Premier and Education editions.
The ability to work offline is designed to appeal to always-on-the-road business travelers, who often find themselves in spaces such as airports that could lack a reliable Web connection. Microsoft's Outlook client was an early player in creating offline functionality for such users.
Google has also been negotiating over potential enterprise-level Gmail implementation for major companies such as Prudential.