Google gives Gmail a mobile push

Move helps Google play catch-up in its ongoing race for the enterprise

Can't wait to get back to your desk to check your Gmail messages? Well, now you may not have to wait.

Google Inc. announced Tuesday that with Google Sync, users can get their Gmail messages pushed directly to their mobile phones. Google Sync, which was launched in beta in February, was initially designed to allow users to synchronize their Gmail Contacts and Google Calendar with their iPhone, Windows Mobile, and S60 devices.

Now they can sync their Gmail messages as well, said Douglas Gresham, a software engineer for Google Mobile, in a blog post .

"Having an over-the-air, always-on connection means that your inbox is up to date, no matter where you are or what you're doing," Gresham wrote. "Sync works with your phone's native e-mail application so there's no additional software needed."

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research Inc., said giving Gmail a mobile push is an important step for Google, which has been trying to draw more business from the enterprise .

"Instant awareness is something some people care about a great deal," he added. "For some people, being informed as soon as e-mail arrives is important. That, along with the keyboard, was the driving force behind the Blackberry . If you're doing a lot of business via e-mail, you can reduce the time to transact business by reducing wait times."

For executives trying to decide if there's any place for Gmail in the enterprise , Gottheil said this is one less negative factor for them to consider. "It gives Google Apps more traction," he said. "For the enterprise, it's mostly a matter of being able to consider Gmail."

But since other e-mail systems have long gone mobile, Gottheil noted that this latest move, though a step forward, is more about Google playing catch-up with its Gmail system.

"To win, Gmail has to be better, not just just as good," he said. "It's just that this mobile push is not so much a feature as the removal of a drawback."

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
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