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Google woos BlackBerries with Apps connector

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In an effort to woo more BlackBerry-happy businesses onto Google Apps, the Mountain View Chocolate Factory will soon offer new BlackBerry server software meant to provide easy access to its cloud-based web-based app suite.

According to Google, more than 3,000 business adopt Google Apps everyday, moving from office apps hosted on internal servers to Mountain View's online services, which include Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts. But oh so many businesses are still married to the BlackBerry, and Google wants to ensure they can readily tap its office suite from the ever-popular handheld device.

Known as the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Google's new tool allows BlackBerry users to access Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts straight from the device's built-in software apps. Messages sent to your Gmail inbox are pushed straight to your BlackBerry email client, for instance, and any messages read or deleted on your BlackBerry are marked as read or deleted on Gmail - and vice versa.

The connector is now in beta and is due for official release in July.

It may be a tad ironic that an office suite meant do away with internal servers is happily integrating with internal server software. But Google knows that the BlackBerry mindset isn't going anywhere. The company points out that with the new connector in place, IT admins can still oversee handhelds from the BlackBerry Server.

"The transition for IT administrators is also seamless," Googler Raju Gulabani wrote when unveiling the connector on the Official Google Enterprise Blog. "Admins are given full control of the solution and can continue to manage BlackBerry smartphones using BlackBerry Enterprise Server."

BlackBerry users can already access Google Apps from their handhelds. But the new connector is designed to ease the transition from internally-hosted tools - read: Microsoft Exchange. The Google Connector will be available free of charge for any businesses paying for the Premier and Education Editions of Google Apps. ®

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