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Google Apps for Business + Microsoft Outlook = Disaster

Last January we started hosting a new client. We brought their web site over to our private server, finished developing it, and set them up with Google Apps for Business. Pretty standard stuff for us. We?ve done it numerous times before.

The one difference with this client? They really needed to keep using Microsoft?s Outlook for their business. The majority of our other clients that we set up on Google Apps are happy to leave Outlook behind.

?No big deal,? I thought. Google Apps for Business supports Outlook sync and integration. At least, they?re supposed to.

I sold our new client on how great Google Apps is. Access from anywhere. Shared calendar and documents. Nothing to install. Built in virus protection and spam filtering. Google Apps is overall a great product. We use it ourselves in fact.

At first, our client was thrilled by the features. But, over time, issues arose with how Google Apps integrated with Outlook. Big, horrible issues that Google doesn?t want you to know about.

First it was with the sync function. Errors kept popping up. Since my client had the Business level of service, we contacted Google Support. This only added to the problems (but that?s for another blog post).

After Google support attempted to help my client, I suggested they try IMAP connectivity. I figured, ?This is how we connect to our Google Apps accounts, so it should with for them.? Wrong.

Apparently, Microsoft has little reason to support the IMAP protocol since they want you to license their Exchange server.

A few weeks later, my client emails me. Duplicate emails and contacts littered their Outlook install. I hesitated to contact support again due to our less than stellar experience a few months ago. Instead, I took to the interwebs and discovered a bevy of complaints and issues surrounding using Outlook with Google Apps.

According to Google, it?s a perfect solution? keep using Outlook and take advantage of Google Apps? awesome features. But let me tell you from experience: it is not perfect.

If you are considering using Google Apps and cannot abandon Outlook, do yourself a favor and invest some time in research prior to the switch. It is possible to do, but it is not easy.

At this time, my client is undecided about what to do. They may try POP connectivity in Outlook. This should solve the duplication problems. Ultimately, we may switch them away from Google Apps mail solution altogether for something that works better.

Have you had issues with Outlook and Google Apps? Or success? Tell us about it in the comments.