Google fixes search problem in Outlook sync tool for Apps

The Google plug-in disabled Windows Desktop Search in Outlook

Google has fixed an issue with the Outlook synchronization tool it released recently for its Apps hosted communications and collaboration suite, Google said Tuesday.

That tool, called Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, didn't play well with programs that interact directly with the Outlook data file, such as Windows Desktop Search. Specifically, Apps Sync, during installation, disabled Windows Desktop Search, which lets users find information in Outlook.

However, the new version of Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook now works properly with Windows Desktop Search. The plug-in has always worked properly with Outlook's native search feature, according to Google.

Another change to the Google tool is that it now lets users access Windows Live Hotmail via the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector plug-in, which the Google tool didn't support before.

Other enhancements to Apps Sync are the ability to enable or disable auto-archive during installation and an improved two-way synchronization of notes in contacts, Google said.

Existing users will get the upgrade automatically. New users will find the new version here.

Google launched Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook on June 9 in order to give users the option to use Outlook as a front end to the Gmail and Calendar component of the Premier and Education editions of Apps.

Currently, the plug-in lets people synchronize e-mail, contacts and calendar items between Outlook and Apps, but it doesn't provide the full parity of features that exist between Outlook and Exchange.

This is why a variety of industry analysts are recommending that before deciding to replace Exchange with Apps, IT managers run tests of the plug-in to make sure that their Outlook users will not miss functionality they need for their work.

The plug-in isn't available to users of the Standard edition of Apps, which is free and limited to 50 end-users per domain. Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook is for Apps' Premier edition, which costs US$50 per user annually, and for Apps' Education edition, which is free and aimed at students, teachers and school staffers.

Microsoft didn't respond to a request for comment about the newest version of the Google plug-in.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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