Someone recently said this to me and it got me thinking. Some people are loyal to a particular brand. Some families and even entire communities won’t buy any truck if it isn’t a GMC and no one can convince them otherwise.
I get that some people don’t like using Google’s Gmail web interface to read their mail; I’m one of them. But maybe I haven’t explained how well Google works with Microsoft. Let me show you what G-Suite looks like for a Microsoft user.
I’m a Microsoft Power User. On my computer, I probably use more Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint features than 80% of all Microsoft users. I’m solidly invested in Microsoft Outlook for my mail, calendars, and task and contact lists. One feature I don’t use is One Drive (except to store my OneNote files); I find Google Drive File Stream more secure and easier to manage.
Not to throw Microsoft under the bus, but I can’t imagine choosing Microsoft for my back-end mail, calendars, contact lists, virtual meeting software, and document storage over G-Suite.
Front-end vs. Back-end software
First, let me define “front end” and “back end” software. “Front end” is the user experience—the look, the feel, the keystrokes and commands, the sequence of steps to accomplish a task. Outlook is “front end” software. “Back end” software provides the internal operations and processes to gather, send, store, and manage data. For most Microsoft organizations, Microsoft Exchange is the “back end” software to receive and send email so Outlook can display it. Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook do this using a protocol called MAPI.
Outlook can also connect to other back end mail systems. Perhaps you have a gmail.com account, or a hotmail.com account, or even a yahoo or AOL account. Outlook can also receive and send mail to these mail systems. Outlook connects to these systems using protocols like IMAP or POP. However, IMAP and POP are not as full featured and reliable as MAPI, so while mail is sent and received, it doesn’t have all the features that a true MAPI connection will have (like calendar integration).
The Benefits of MAPI
Google’s paid offering, called G-Suite, is fully MAPI compliant and gives a native Microsoft feeling to Microsoft Outlook users. Here’s what Microsoft Outlook looks like with a MAPI connection to Google:
All the standard features are here:
- Your mail, your calendars, your contacts, and your tasks are all here
- You’re connected using a MAPI protocol because your mailbox starts with “G Suite -” and then your name (see the arrow in the screen capture). You won’t get this when you connect to a gmail or other email account with an IMAP or POP connection.
- You can choose from Folder Pane, Reading Pane and To-Do Bar layouts.
- Appointment requests show up in your calendar and can be accepted or declined, with or without a message back to the sender.
- Email is populated with addresses from your contact list if a match is found.
- Your Outlook files can hold up to an unlimited amount of data (Microsoft recommends keeping your active mailbox under 5 Gb for most users even with Exchange-Outlook systems).
- Overdue items show up in red.
- Folder item counts are present and sub-folders are editable.
- All Outlook items, all Mailboxes, the current Mailbox, a folder, or a subfolder, can be searched for contents
Plus you get added benefits:
- The security of Google (that’s a whole other series of blog articles)
- Create a “New Meeting” invitation with an embedded Google Meet coordinate in the message (Google Meet is included in G Suite)
- Save attachments directly to Google Drive (see the arrow in the above image)
- Read your mail safely and securely from Android, Apple iOS , other Windows, and Macintosh devices and computers using applications, apps, or web browsers.
So if after all this, you’re interested in a demo of how Google and Microsoft Outlook can live together and put happiness in your life, let me know. I’d be happy to talk to you about it.
And if you’re still not convinced, check out part 2 on how Google Drive File Stream will rock your socks off by replacing your “My Documents” folder.