Google Blitzes Microsoft With Outlook Migration Tool

Google's and Microsoft's cloud computing kerfuffle continued this week with Google's launch of Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook, a new tool to woo individual Outlook users onto the Google Apps platform.

According to Google, Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook is a new end-user tool that lets individual users move e-mail, calendar and contact data from Outlook profiles, PST files and Exchange accounts over to Google Apps.

"Businesses and schools are moving to Google Apps in droves, and they're able to switch more seamlessly with the help of tools to move old email, contacts and calendar data from legacy solutions to Google's cloud," Abhishek Bapna, Google Apps Product Manager, wrote in a blog post.

The release of Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook follows the March launch of Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, a tool that migrates hundreds of users from Exchange to Google Apps in one fell swoop. It supports migrations from Microsoft Exchange 2003 and 2007 along with on-premise and hosted Exchange.

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The new migration tool for Outlook, which is part of Google Apps Premier and Education Editions, lets Google Apps users import mail, calendars and personal contacts all at once or in separate stages; import only mail sent before or after a certain date; skip importing junk e-mail and deleted items; exclude specific folders from importing; monitor migration process; pause and resume migration; and run subsequent migrations to import new data.

The launch of Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook is another swipe at Microsoft as the two tech titans tussle in the cloud computing space and engage in a heated battle of cloud one-upmanship. Google has made it a mission to lure Microsoft Exchange and Outlook users over to its Google Apps cloud computing platform, while Microsoft has scrambled to establish a foothold in the growing cloud ecosystem to better compete with Google.

Next: The Clash Of The Cloud Colossi Continues

Microsoft's and Google's cloud battle reached a boiling point earlier this month when Microsoft officially released Microsoft Office 2010, the software giant's latest suite of productivity applications that includes the new Web Apps component, or cloud versions of Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Ahead of Microsoft's Office 2010 launch Google updated its Google Docs offerings in a bid to beat Microsoft to the punch with the addition of a host of new capabilities into Google Apps and Docs.

Microsoft's release of Office 2010 this month set forth a mud-slinging campaign between Google and Microsoft during which Google urged Office 2007 users to upgrade to Google Apps and avoid Office 2010. Google claimed Office 2010 lacked the cloud collaboration capabilities available through Google. Microsoft quickly fought back, saying Google's collaboration claims were off the mark. Meanwhile, Google highlighted its March acquisition of DocVerse, a plug-in that enables Web-based collaboration capabilities within Microsoft Office desktop applications, another tool Google is hanging over Microsoft's head as the two compete in the cloud.

Following Google's and Microsoft's back and forth around Office 2010, the duo butted heads again last week with Microsoft's unveiling of a revamped version of its free Web-based Hotmail e-mail offering, which will launch in June. The new Hotmail, dubbed Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail, adds new features and functions to the oft-maligned e-mail service.

The same day Microsoft showcased the new Hotmail, Google stole Microsoft's thunder, unveiling a host of new Gmail Contextual Gadgets, third-party offerings that tie new capabilities directly into Gmail messages and inboxes, functionality Microsoft was hoping to capitalize on with the new Hotmail. Google was also quick to point out that "Gmail contextual gadgets are available today while the new Hotmail won't actually launch until later this summer."