Google Sync

This entry is part 25 of 35 in the series Green Belt

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Google Sync can help keep your iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Symbian smartphone stay synchronized with calendar, contacts, and email on your Google account wirelessly.

This is more commonly known as “push technology” because you don’t have to manually request your calendar, contacts, or email be updated. Most people find push technology more convenient. The advantage is that you get your updates sent automatically to the native apps on your mobile device and those are synced with your Google account information. The downside is that you cannot take advantage of many of the features of the web application such as labels, stars, and archiving in Gmail, for example.

Setting up Google Sync was pretty basic. I was able to follow the instructions online and get my iPod Touch setup to sync my email and calendar items in a matter of minutes. The key is to setup the account as a Microsoft Exchange account. Google Sync uses the Microsoft ActiveSync technology to do the heavy lifting. Generally, I still use the web interface or the Gmail applet on my iPod Touch so I can use the cool extras to manage my email. The place where Google Sync has made a big difference for me is the calendar. It sure is handy to have my Google calendar items, which are generally personal, right next to my work items all in the palm of my hand. Now when someone asks me “Are you available next Tuesday?” I have everything I need in one place.

It should be noted that the iPhone and iPod Touch require OS v3.0 or higher.

You can find step-by-step instructions for your mobile device at m.google.com/sync.

Here’s today’s quick tip. You might want to check out the labs feature “Hide Read Labels” if you want to have a little less clutter on the left side of you screen in the labels tab. If you turn on this labs feature, it will only show you the labels that have unread messages in them, in essence, hiding all the labels where the messages are all read. This is particularly useful if you are one of those people who use labels as a to-do list. For example, saving unread messages in a label called “Weekend” will have this folder displayed until you’ve read all the messages, in effect, checking them off your to-do list, then the list goes to hidden. Just another handy way to keep the relevant information at your fingertips while keeping the interface clean.

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