I don’t miss Outlook / Exchange
Posted by David Chandler on August 14, 2010
Having previously seen only the personal edition of Google Calendar, I was skeptical of its value as a replacement for Outlook / Exchange in the enterprise. But now that I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that uses Google Apps for the enterprise, I can’t imagine going back. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
- See anyone’s calendar. Including, of course, other people at work (Apps edition of Calendar has a nice Find a Time feature similar to Outlook), but also my personal Google calendar (yeah! ONE calendar at last!) which I’ve shared from my Gmail account, calendars of other Gmail users who have shared with me, various team calendars, even the Atlanta Braves calendar so I know when to avoid the downtown connector (see Add | Interesting calendars).
- Google Calendar on my iPhone (and, of course, Android). It’s a beautiful thing, works anywhere, and you can even set your Calendar settings to send you text message meeting reminders. Of course, I can see ALL calendars shared with me on the phone in one unified view, including personal, school, work, etc.
- Google Calendar widget for Gmail (Settings | Labs to enable). Shows my day at a glance in Gmail. Works well with the Right-side Chat widget (also in Settings | Labs) to make more room.
- Click and drag to create an appointment. Easy! Quick Add is great, too. Just type “Dinner with Vicki Fri 7-9 pm” and presto, you’ve got a date.
- Search. Of course.
- Keyboard shortcuts! This was my biggest fear moving from Outlook / Exchange. Microsoft helped make the transition easier by hiding many of my old favorites in the new Outlook ribbon bar. Happily, I’ve found that Gmail and Calendar keyboard shortcuts are every bit as productive as Outlook. Enable in Gmail and Calendar Settings, then type ? to see a list of available shortcuts. My newest favorite: “/” for instant access to the search box. Makes perfect sense if you’ve ever used vi.
- Finally, I can get my calendar anywhere, anytime. No VPN required, no installed software. I think Google is here to stay.
Combine all this with Google Docs and Sites, and I really can’t understand why every small business hasn’t moved to the cloud. Google Apps is a sleeper.