How to Use Google Apps as a MobileMe or Exchange alternative

I already wrote about Google Apps as a mail-hoster for your own domains. Today I’m going to talk about Google Apps for almost everything else you might need for your office or personal organization. I just set up Google Calendar and Google Address book synchronization on my Google Apps account.

Your Gmail account also has the Calendar, Contacts, Sites and Docs features, but you can’t collaborate with other employees or members that good. On the other hand you have many other features like Reader or Picasaweb within one account.

I used to use Funambol for contact synchronization, but with my iPhone or my Mac or anything else but Thunderbird synchronization was very beta like and crashed my Contact database several times. Plus they went commercial a few weeks ago. My self-hosted Calendar also didn’t sync very well with my computers and mobile devices which is why I was looking for a more reliable solution.

And although I don’t really like the Idea of storing personal information like Contacts and Calendars at the servers of a company like Google, the way better synchronization compared to my previous and the other (free) solutions I tried, made me switch to Google Apps for these two tasks. And I really like it!

Google Apps provides Microsoft Exchange and CalDAV functionality, so you can sync your contacts and calendars to almost every client and device you want.

Mac OS X: syncs directly with you Google Calendar over CalDAV (How-To) Address syncs with your Google Contacts (Accounts -> Synchronize with Google)

Windows: Outlook: Use Google’s Exchange feature. (Here’s the How-To) Windows Calendar, Address book and many other clients: Use Google Calendar Sync Windows Calendar: you can also read-only subscribe to an RSS-Feed

UNIX/Linux: Evolution: See this How-To Kontact: See this How-To

Mobiles: Google supports many smartphones! See this for mobile devices I sync my iPhone via the new Exchange support (as of OS 3.0) and it works pretty reliable(Though I had an issue when removing some events of a repeating event) Blackberry and Windows Mobile is also supported

Other: The ‘Google Calendar’ Plug-In syncs your Calendar with Mozilla Thunderbird and Lightning The ‘gContactSync’ Plug-In syncs your Contacts with Mozilla Thunderbird Mozilla Sunbird also syncs with your Google Calendar Gcalcli is a command-line interface to your Google Calendar

I also just setup Google Reader on my GMail account to follow the blogs I read, which makes it easier than having one RSS reader on my desktop, one on my laptop and one on my mobile. I now don’t longer have to worry about which articles I already read on another device.

So that’s it with the Google homage/advertising today.