If you own a Blackberry, Google has introduced one more reason to switch to Gmail by way of their Google Sync tool. In addition to Google Sync’s ability to keep your mobile devices in sync with Google Calendar, a new feature now available is the ability to synchronize contacts between the BlackBerry and Google contacts. This improvement offers automatic, two-way synchronization between your BlackBerry’s built-in address book and your Google Apps contacts. From Google Maps to Google Contacts, it truly is helpful to have a central repository of contact information and this is making it harder for someone who has switched to Gmail to consider moving back to another service provider.
So, even though Microsoft has shared contacts with Hotmail, Xbox and the Zune, there’s still places like the Blackberry or Windows Live Maps where access to Windows Live contact information would be very helpful, and the lack of such a service from Microsoft makes it harder to continue justify using their services.
WOW! I just came across this news release from the Office of University Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Below is a quick excerpt:
The University of Pennsylvania has partnered with Microsoft to enhance the communications platform it offers to many of its students.
Beginning in the fall semester, students in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School will have the option of using a customized version of Windows Live called Penn Live to access e-mail and a full suite of online communications services.
Penn Live will host student e-mail accounts, including support for both mobile and offline access. The arrangement with Microsoft will provide students with 2 gigabytes of storage space. Other features include calendaring and contact management; Windows Live Messenger instant messaging and file sharing; Windows Live Spaces for personal web publishing, blogging and photo sharing; and FolderShare, a private peer-to-peer network that allows users to synchronize files between multiple devices and share files with other student users.
Obviously I’m adding spice to the news release, but what immediately jumps to mind is did UPenn just select Windows Live Mail over Gmail when Google has just been pushing out features and improvements to their existing offering. Google Docs will soon have a presentation component, the integration of Google Talk within the mail interface and having POP access to all your mail are just some small but very nice features. One can’t even start to sing praises of the use of labels for organization of mail and the excellent calendar component. Yet with all these features, a committee of students and administration selected Windows Live Mail over Gmail. Impressive! Good job Microsoft and especially with the Ivy League win.
The other part of the press release also gives you some insight on what to expect from Microsoft in the next few months – the relaunch of FolderShare or Windows Live Drive?
You know there’s a problem when you start seeing a plumber one too many times. In my case, I’ve been seeing the ‘Bloglines Plumber‘ more times than I care for:
I’ll be switching to Google Reader as my feed reader and hopefully won’t have to make another transition anytime soon.
One of the interesting things that I noticed with the new Office 2007 beta is the ability to quickly provide feedback on a feature to the Office 2007 development team by way of sending a smile or frown. This has dramatically increased the amount of feedback I typically provide since it’s much easier to click on the smile or frown and submit my comments and screenshot (The alternative being submitting bug reports through the old beta website)
When the Send a Smile/ Frown tool is installed the application appears in the system tray as displayed below:
Imagine my surprise when I logged into Google Sitemaps and discovered something similar. It’s hard to find myself rating one of their tools as being ‘Totally not useful’ but nevertheless I’m glad that they’re open to negative feedback.
Google has just posted it’s first official mashup. The ‘Have a Green Summer‘ site is a partnership between Google Maps and the Earth Day Network and provides maps and videos of five vacation spots to visit with environmentally friendly activities.