With a new Apps Connector software to push Gmail, Google Calendar and Contacts direct to a BlackBerry Google takes another step towards becoming a complete alternative to Exchange.
While Microsoft preps online versions
of its key Office apps for Office 2010
in an effort to catch up to Google, the search supremo is about to take on another of Redmond’s fiefdoms.
Currently being beta tested and set for launch in July (although hopefully not with the omnipresent ‘Beta’ tag), Google Apps Connector
for BlackBerry Enterprise Server turns Google Apps into a BlackBerry-friendly push service. Items in Gmail, Calendar and Contacts are all delivered direct to the built-in BlackBerry applications rather than requiring add-on software.
This slide from the Apps Connector documentation explains how the freebie works its Googletastic magic
Google Apps Connector resides on a local Windows Server 2008 box and handles the syncing while the BES software (which is also loaded onto a company’s local server handles the server-to-BlackBerry connection exactly as if it were talking to Exchange rather than Google Apps.
And here's how it all looks in action, with GMail (above) and Google Calendar (below)
The Connector doesn’t yet tick all the boxes. While it handles offline access, folders, read/delete sync, spam filtering and support for archiving and stars in Gmail it doesn’t support threaded Gmail conversations, labels or full mailbox search.
For those you’ll still need to reach for Google’s BlackBerry Gmail client
. Calendar syncing is also one-way only, from Google to your BlackBerry, but two-way syncing is planned for a later upgrade.
When released in July the Apps Connector will be available free (of course!) to all Google Apps Premier and Education customers.