First announced at WES 2009, Google’s Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server has finally gone live after missing its promised July launch. Free to Google Apps Premier and Education Edition users, Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server allows Google Apps to integrate with BES while eliminating the need for Exchange. Here are the highlights:
- Messages sent to your Gmail inbox are pushed to your BlackBerry within 60 seconds.
- Emails read/deleted on your BlackBerry are marked as read/deleted in Gmail, and vice-versa.
- Emails archived/starred on your BlackBerry are archived/starred in Gmail, and vice-versa.
- BlackBerry folders are synchronized with labels in Gmail.
- You can search for contact information of coworkers from the global address list on your BlackBerry.
- Contacts in Gmail are automatically synchronized with your BlackBerry address book.
- You can view your Google Calendar schedule with the native BlackBerry application, with one-way synchronization from Google Calendar to your BlackBerry device. Two-way calendar sync with the ability to accept, decline and schedule meetings from your BlackBerry device is not available with this release but we are working on it.
- Administrators can use the management and security tools that are part of BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
All in all, Google Apps Connector seems to be a solid Exchange alternative — though we would definitely have a very, very hard time parting with Microsoft’s tried and true solution. Plenty of companies are doing it however, so this is big news for them. Us? We’ll stick to Exchange.