There’s been quite a bit of media comment recently on the release of Google Apps sync for Microsoft Outlook.

Google are pitching this as some sort of breakthrough that will remove a barrier for customers to transition from Microsoft Exchange to Google-hosted Gmail. To be honest, I’m a little surprised this has attracted so much attention and here’s why :

  1. IBM have had a connector for Lotus Domino (Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook) for years but it didn’t make much difference to their enterprise customers, primarily owing to an unclear support model and poor functionality when compared to Outlook + Exchange.
  2. Google Apps syncing with Outlook, like licensing Microsoft’s ActiveSync for Gmail on mobile devices, completely validates Microsoft’s Software + Services model (as opposed to SaaS) and suffers from the same limitations.
  3. I’d have thought these features would have been delivered through Google Gears. Maybe they got gummed up :-)
  4. There’s also a whole list of things that don’t work properly with Google’s connector, such as :
    • Public folders aren't available
    • Can't delegate access to your mailbox or calendar
    • Tasks, Notes, and Journal entries aren't synchronised with the Google cloud
    • Cannot delegate access to your mailbox
    • Follow-up dates and reminders in Google Mail are not synced in the cloud
    • Cannot recover deleted items
    • Posts in mail folders aren't synchronised
    • Cannot specify a delay for emailing calendar invitations
    • Importance levels in Google Mail are not synced to the cloud
    • Clean reply headers may look different
    • Receiving POP vs IMAP mail goes to different accounts
    • Receiving web pages from IE or Office may not arrive until the next time Outlook is opened
    • Synchronisation of multiple calendars do not sync to the cloud
    • Share my Calendar feature not available
    • Delegating access to your calendar is not available when using Google Apps Sync
    • Optional attendees are not recognised
    • Accepting new meeting time proposals is not recognised by the Google Apps interface
    • Calendar attachments aren't synchronised with the Google Apps cloud
    • Cannot save without sending
    • Forwarding meeting invitations do not work
    • Requesting invitation responses happens whether or not you choose not to receive responses
    • Event replies aren't stored in Calendar
    • Other users don't see links or formatting
    • Invitation emails from Google Calendar don't show all attendees
    • Maximum number of recurrences is limited to 365
    • When scheduling a recurring event, Outlook users don't see the first event
    • End-of-month recurring events anomalies
    • Modifying recurring events doesn't delete exceptions
    • Google Calendar users can't schedule First Weekday or First Weekend Day recurrences
    • You can't remove attendees from an exception
    • Declining a recurring event from Outlook 2003 removes user from organiser list
    • Moving an all-day recurring event causes duplicates
    • When using Outlook, you can't organise a meeting without being listed as an attendee
    • Resource names don't update for previously scheduled events
    • New time zone rules can affect meeting times
    • Choosing a new time zone affects all-day events
    • Minor event updates are marked as exceptions

Read the details here and make up your own mind:

Full credit to Google for being so upfront about what’s missing.

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