- Businesses can keep using their email program.
- Microsoft Outlook requires a special syncing tool.
- The best results come from using Google Gmail.
A common question for businesses thinking about moving to Google Apps is whether they can still use their preferred email program, whether that’s Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Outlook for Mac, Microsoft Entourage or Mozilla Thunderbird.
The short answer is yes, you can. You can still use your email program to read, send and file your emails even though Google Apps is acting as your business’ local post office.
Most of the email programs mentioned above can sync email, contacts and calendar with Google Apps. Google uses open standards to do this (CALDAV, CARDDAV and IMAP for calendars, contacts and emails respectively).
Microsoft Outlook is supported but works a little differently. Google uses a dedicated syncing program called Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook. This program mimics the way Outlook works with Microsoft Exchange. For example mail, contacts and calendar are synced instead of stored locally, and you have access to colleagues mail and calendar through delegation.
This solution lets employees keep their Outlook programs, which is one less change to negotiate during a move to Google Apps.
It’s a good match for legacy programs that work with Outlook but don’t play well with Google.
While you can use email programs with Google Apps, the reality is you will get the best results by using email, calendar and contacts with Google Gmail in your web browser.
One of the benefits of cloud programs is that you always have the latest version because they are updated invisibly with new features while you use them. Email programs on your desktop such as Outlook need to be manually updated.
Updating software becomes a bigger issue when you have more components involved. If Google or Microsoft change the way their programs work it could break connecting programs such as the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook mentioned above.
And cloud programs such as Gmail are available on any device. It will also make your life easier working on one system that is predominantly supported by one provider.
Of course, Gmail works best in Google’s own browser, Chrome. A number of Google Apps features such as working offline are only supported in Chrome.