Review: Google Apps Sync Is Blatant Threat To Exchange

Google Apps Sync is ridiculously easy to deploy. Users on Exchange only need to install the plug-in and log in to their Outlook client using a Google Apps account.

Once, the client is logged in, Outlook objects such as e-mail, calendar and contacts are imported to the Google Apps servers.

Note: To install this software, the Outlook client has to be at version 2003 with SP3 or version 2007 with SP2 or SP1 with the hotfix officeKB959642fullfilex86glb. Also, ensure Outlook is closed when installing the plug-in—Google Apps Sync will install but it won't be able to be set up.

Once installed, Google Apps Sync prompts for a login using a Google Apps account. A user can then choose to import data from an existing Exchange account. The only data that will not sync with Google Apps are Notes, Journal Entries and Tasks.

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Outlook then opens up and Google Apps Sync begins the process of importing e-mail. It also delivers the warning that it may take up to 24 hours for imported mail to appear in Outlook. Sure enough, we did not see imported mail right away. Calendar items and contacts, however, did appear right after import.

Since there is a possible delay with e-mail appearing, those considering deploying this solution will of course want to do it off-hours.

The ease of deployment is impressive. For those already set up with Google Apps or Google Apps Premiere, there is the potential for some serious savings in both time and money; user accounts for Google Apps Premiere are $50 per year, per each user after five users and there is no need to devote staff and time to managing an on-premise Exchange server.

Could this be an Exchange killer? The possibility exists, as more providers and organizations recognize the value of moving to hosted solutions. However, once again, a company's e-mail security is in the hands of Google. This is a solution that will be ideal for many but may need more consideration by organizations that must adhere to compliance regulations.