RealTime IT News

Google Gets Pushy With E-Mail

Google today unveiled support for so-called "push" mail to Apple iPhone and Windows Mobile devices.

Push has a long been a key feature of the BlackBerry devices coveted by corporate users because it automatically brings users new e-mail and calendar updates without needing to manually check for them.

Previously, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) only offered push e-mail for the BlackBerry and for devices built on the open source Android operating system, on which Google leads development. Now, users of the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone and iPod Touch and of devices based on Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Mobile will similarly benefit, Google said.

"With the over-the-air, always-on push connections, e-mails and changes to calendar events and contacts are reflected very quickly on their phones," Google's product management director, Raju Gulabani, said in a blog post today.

As a result, the new Google Sync capability can enable over-the-air synchronization of Gmail to phones' built-in mail applications.

Additionally, Gulabani pointed out that Google offers Web-based applications "for a rich experience, like threaded conversations and search across the entire inbox." Neither feature is currently available across all of Google Sync's supported platforms.

Google Sync launched in 2007, enabling push e-mail and, in an update late last year, contact synchronizing for the Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry. Early this year, the app added support for users of the iPhone, Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 devices to synchronize their handsets with Gmail Contacts and Google Calendar.

The feature is free to all Google Apps customers, and Google said it can be enabled by domain administrators in the U.S. English version of the administrative control panel.

For those already using Google Sync for contacts and calendar, push mail is enabled automatically. Google said iPhone and Windows Mobile users can set up Google Sync in a few easy steps directly from their phones.

Google Sync is also available to those with personal Gmail and Google Calendar accounts.

More information on Google Sync is available here.

The news comes at a time of booming interest in mobile devices and fierce competition among a variety of vendors to outdo each other on features.

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) recently announced Motoblur for a new line of mobile devices starting with the new Cliq device from T-Mobile.

Built on Google's Android platform, Motoblur is designed to simplify access to and communication with social networks like Twitter and Facebook by providing a single, unified stream of content from those different sources.