Google Apps Tool Targets Exchange Users

Google releases tool to help Microsoft Exchange customers move their email, calendar and contact data to Google Apps

Google today released a tool to help Microsoft Exchange customers shuttle their corporate communications data to Google Apps in four steps, the company’s latest salvo versus Microsoft in a simmering collaboration software war.

Intended for IT administrators, Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange moves email, calendar and contact data from Microsoft’s Exchange email server to Google Apps, the suite of web-based collaboration applications Google hosts on its servers.

The tool, free to existing customers of the paid Google Apps Premier and Google Apps Education Edition suites, works with Exchange 2003 and 2007, both on-premise and hosted versions of that platform.

Administrators can set up the migration tool in four steps and move blocks of mail, calendar and contact data for hundreds of users at once, Google Apps Senior Product Manager Chris Vander Mey told eWEEK.

The programme is multi-threaded, meaning users will be migrated in parallel to Google’s cloud. Users can continue to access their email, calendar and contacts from Exchange during the migration without disruption.

Vander Mey, who shepherded the launch of Google’s Apps Marketplace one week ago, said Google tested the tool with customers such as the New Zealand Post and Google Apps partners, Revevol Consulting and Sheepdog.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange is Google’s most blatant attack yet on the Exchange installed base of over 500 million users, marking another line in the sand for Microsoft. Microsoft has come on strong in the cloud on its own in the last year, with over one million paying customers for its Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Offering a migration tool can help Google lure more Exchange users to the Google Apps cloud, keeping Exchange admins from choosing BPOS.

This isn’t the first migration tool Google has created. Google last year released Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook to let users slap the Outlook email front end on top of their Google Apps suite. This tool has gotten a mixed response from admins who have implemented it.

Google later released Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server to let admins for corporate-issued RIM smartphones synchronise business users’ Google Apps email, calendar and contacts with applications on BlackBerry devices.

But the closest migration tool to Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange came in July in the form of Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes, a tool to help users of the popular IBM Lotus Notes email application move their mail, calendar and contacts to Google’s Gmail application.

In related Google Apps news, Google also said it landed National Geographic (2,000 seats) and Konica Minolta (7,000 seats) as new customers.

While not Google’s largest Apps installations by any means, the new customers add more notches to Google’s stated totals of having 2 million businesses and more than 25 million individual users of the cloud collaboration platform.