Sunday, February 15, 2009

Google Sync

Google is releasing a beta version of Google Sync for the iPhone and Windows Mobile phones, providing the ability to synchronize Gmail contact information and Google Calendar events with handheld phones. The technology is based on the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol, licensed by Google.

Sync uses push technology to send changes to the device; the connection is always on so users don't have to manually synchronize their phones after Sync is set up. Changes to phones can be made in a user's Google account.

Additionally, Nokia and Sony Ericsson devices supporting the SyncML protocol allow for two-way contacts synchronization via Google Sync. Google Calendar sync and Contacts sync already has been available for the RIM BlackBerry smartphone, Google said.

But that software for RIM does not use Exchange ActiveSync.

Microsoft previously licensed ActiveSync to Apple, Nokia, Palm, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. But the company is not seeking to make ActiveSync an industry standard, a Microsoft representative said.

Google, according to Microsoft, is taking a patent license to implement the Exchange ActiveSync protocol on Google servers that provide Google hosted services for purposes of synchronizing personal information management information with mobile handsets that implement Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

Google Sync is a good solution for small businesses relying on Gmail, said analyst Chris Hazelton, research director for mobile and wireless at The 451 Group.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gmail Offline With Google Gears

Until today, one of the biggest drawbacks of Gmail is that you could not go through your emails when you were offline. Today, that changes. Gmail is finally going offline. Google is rolling out a Google Gears version of Gmail that will be available to users starting today in Gmail Labs. (If you don’t see it, keep checking, the rollout to all users should be complete by the end of the week).
After installing the Google Gears plug-in to your browser, Gmail detects when you are offline. It caches your e-mail so that you can read it, respond to it, search it, star it, or label it. When you are connected to the Internet again, it sends all the messages. You can even open attachments. This is exactly the way Gmail already works on mobile phones such as the Android and those that support Gears. In fact, according to Gmail product manager Todd Jackson, who briefed me earlier today:

The underlying sync engine is exactly the same for Android and offline Gmail.

Some features, however, won’t work. Anything that requires an Internet connection, such as spellcheck, won’t work offline. And while you can open attachments, you won’t be able to add attachments at launch (that feature will be added soon, however).