Google intros free push calendaring, contacts for iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
While Apple's MobileMe has so far been one of the only ways to get push data to the iPhone outside of the workplace, Google has launched a new mobile sync service that promises to do much of the same for free.



The beta release this week of Google Sync for iPhone relies on a newly-acquired license for Microsoft Exchange to both instantly push Google Calendar and Gmail contacts to the iPhone and iPod touch as well as to send those changes back out to Google's usual web services.



The feature extends to multiple calendars and includes all the features that come with using an Exchange account from the office on one of Apple's devices, including alarms, multiple calendars and multiple phone numbers for each person in the contact list. As a consequence, users don't have to worry about losing all their information if data on the phone or computer is lost, the search giant boasts.



Google characterizes the setup as slightly more complex but also free of any extra software: while a simple iTunes sync has been available for months by checking a box, the full two-way feature requires the brief setup of an Exchange account on the iPhone as though it were a standard office setup.



Also available for Windows Mobile, the new Google Sync still has significant drawbacks that include an inability to handle more than five calendars and a set amount of e-mail addresses and numbers per person. Google is also adamant in warning existing iPhone users that using the Exchange-based solution will wipe out any calendars and contacts stored on the iPhone itself -- a function of the iPhone's behavior towards different account formats.







Crucially, the Sync service omits Gmail messages and thus prevents email from arriving or leaving as quickly as other changes made to a Google account. Company engineer Bryan Mawhinney admits to the rough state but notes that many improvements are likely to come in the future.



"[We're] following the Google credo to launch early and iterate," he says, albeit without setting expectations for updates.



Still, the investment into Google Sync parallels a continually deepening relationship between Google's services and the iPhone, and exists as one of the first major alternatives to Apple's $99 yearly MobileMe service for those who don't depend on immediate email.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,123member
    I have had my Yahoo address since the early 90's, but I must admit that free push support is really tempting, I don't need the calendars etc that often but find that my email frequently comes in batches on my iPhone from Yahoo.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    I'm really hoping this type of competition pushes Apple to make MobileMe stronger and more feature-rich.



    MobileMe still beats this service, but does it beat it by the $99 fee? Perhaps not.



    Apple need to scratch their heads and work out what they want MobileMe to be, and then strengthen that with far more competitive features like remote wipe, and exchange-level calerdaring and invitation support.



    Exchange needs those functions, but they are also helpful out of the enterprise for personal device and life management.



    Let's hope this competition is just what Apple needs.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    MobileMe is $70 on amazon.com or $96 for the family pack, which are good for renewals too.



    I'll wager Google will not be syncing keychains anytime soon.
  • Reply 4 of 29
    to share my personal data (my calendar entries, which disclose quite reliably my location each moment in time, for instance) even with people maintaining google's data storage
  • Reply 5 of 29
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    I have had my Yahoo address since the early 90's, but I must admit that free push support is really tempting, I don't need the calendars etc that often but find that my email frequently comes in batches on my iPhone from Yahoo.



    Are you using a paid Yahoo account ($20/yr)? Free Yahoo accounts don't support push.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    I'm really hoping this type of competition pushes Apple to make MobileMe stronger and more feature-rich.



    MobileMe still beats this service, but does it beat it by the $99 fee? Perhaps not.



    Apple need to scratch their heads and work out what they want MobileMe to be, and then strengthen that with far more competitive features like remote wipe, and exchange-level calerdaring and invitation support.



    Exchange needs those functions, but they are also helpful out of the enterprise for personal device and life management.



    Let's hope this competition is just what Apple needs.



    I think MS' entry into the cloud environment will push Apple faster and harder than Google's inclusion of Exchange Push.



    As for the value of MM, it does offer a lot more than Push email, and bookmarks and contact syncing. I don't even use MM email except for forwarding my Gmail to it so I can get Push email on my iPhone. Perhaps a bit ironicly, the more complex setup of Gmail's new Exchange setup will keep me using MM mail on my iPhone forwarded from Gmail. This has worked out quite well, save for the first four days.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,123member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Are you using a paid Yahoo account ($20/yr)? Free Yahoo accounts don't support push.



    No, my account is old enough that I still get free pop access, I haven't jumped to push email yet as I don't want to pay the fees, so this google offering seems perfect for people like me.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    I'd have to say both Google and Microsoft are each pushing equally and in different ways.



    Google, unlike microsoft is pushing Apple by being direct competition. Microsoft's cloud service isn't available on iPhone. Google Sync however is.



    Microsoft are attacking MobileMe in association with the iPhone. You buy an iPhone, you'll get MobileMe. Buy windows mobile, get their my phone service. It's competition via device but iPhone has far more going for it than just MobileMe. In that sense the competition isn't really direct.



    On the other hand, between google sync, the competition is purely feature and simplicity based. Can apple afford to lose the millions of dollars from switchers to google sync? Something tells me the hurt at the end in dollars will be more than lost sales on iPhone. There's just too many other features people get iPhones for, not MobileMe.



    Two types of competition, maybe just what apple need?
  • Reply 9 of 29
    If the iPhone allowed for multiple accounts using ActiveSync (not sure if that's a problem caused by Apple or Microsoft), and Gmail supported push, this would be a compelling offering. But since neither of those things are true, I'll stick with MobileMe.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,585member
    Do you still get adverts in attached to your google mail just like hotmail? If so I would never ever switch to google.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    I had troubles getting Google Sync working with my Google Apps for your Domain. Here is a blog post about getting it going... not too bad, there was just some missing information from Google Help.



    http://www.ninthdivision.com/blog/go...ync-on-iphone/



    -Andy
  • Reply 12 of 29
    I must be stupid...I just want my google calendar to sync with the calendar on my iphone and back...does this do that? I don't understand the exchange tie-in.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    Do you still get adverts in attached to your google mail just like hotmail? If so I would never ever switch to google.



    There have never been ads in Gmail when accessed by POP or IMAP.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post


    I must be stupid...I just want my google calendar to sync with the calendar on my iphone and back...does this do that? I don't understand the exchange tie-in.



    It does. But it does it using Microsoft's ActiveSync technology -- the same thing that lets me check my corporate Exchange account on my iPhone. Google just licensed it for their own purposes.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    This is a most welcome move, long live Google, early and iterative!
  • Reply 16 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    MobileMe still beats this service, but does it beat it by the $99 fee? Perhaps not.



    Apple need to scratch their heads and work out what they want MobileMe to be, and then strengthen that with far more competitive features like remote wipe, and exchange-level calerdaring and invitation support.



    Exchange needs those functions, but they are also helpful out of the enterprise for personal device and life management.



    Let's hope this competition is just what Apple needs.



    Did you ever forward a meeting request from Outlook to MobileMe ? It shows the meeting requets as .ics file but nothing more.



    That is why I for one use Nuevasynch (which interacts with Google calendar. Basically forward meeting request to Google calendar and retrieve it via Nuevasynch. Works a treat and it free.



    Not everyone has access to a full blown Exchange account yet recieves quite a lot of meeting request from coroporates.....
  • Reply 17 of 29
    This was the extra push I needed to clean up my Google contacts. I love having the push calendar.



    Too bad it won't be useful for so many people since the iPhone can only use one Exchange account at a time...
  • Reply 18 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Are you using a paid Yahoo account ($20/yr)? Free Yahoo accounts don't support push.



    Yahoo offers free push for the free accounts. Ive got 3 yahoo email accounts, and all of the accounts push the mail almost instantaneously. Its roughly a 10 second delay. You just have to input your number in the yahoo mobile through your email, and instant push email........for FREE



    Ive got no use for push calendar or push contacts, google should have released a push email instead. While I use gmail as my main account, I prefer my ymail, because of the free push
  • Reply 19 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quash View Post


    Yahoo offers free push for the free accounts. Ive got 3 yahoo email accounts, and all of the accounts push the mail almost instantaneously. Its roughly a 10 second delay. You just have to input your number in the yahoo mobile through your email, and instant push email........for FREE



    Ive got no use for push calendar or push contacts, google should have released a push email instead. While I use gmail as my main account, I prefer my ymail, because of the free push



    I think its quite clear why they havent released the push email, they are doing a controlled release, and seeing as calendar/contacts is only a small hit on resources etc they have chosen to do this first. Push email will be coming soon, once the service is stable and reliable.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    Syncing my Google Calendar and my iPhone calendar is something I wanted to do badly a few months ago. I found a free service called NuevaSync that implemented what Google has just released almost exactly. The service has been great and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they implemented push GMail before Google did.



    Doug
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