Thursday, March 06, 2008

Google's Opening The Kimono?

Two announcements in 24 hours from Google of note:

- Google has released a Windows application to keep Outlook and Google Calendar in sync.

- Google has finally released an API for Contacts in Gmail, allowing external applications to actually integrate directly, such as Plaxo, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, etc.

The former was initially received with heartfelt happiness, until the limitations were revealed: you can only sync a single calendar. In Google, you can subscribe to an infinite number of shared iCal feeds, and they appear in your Google Calendar as a separate color/calendar. However, they don't actually integrate into the Google Calendar, nor is there a way to merge them in. That means the only place they appear is within Google Calendar. This means that Google's Calendar sync is only as good as Plaxo's, and with less error handling. Harumph.

The Contacts API, however, is long overdue. Now, people can sync between their Gmail and apps like Facebook, Plaxo, Trillian, and even, conceivably, a client app for Outlook. Perhaps Apple will even consider adding the conduit to the sync choices in the iPhone 2.0 firmware update in June?

Keep going, Google: this is how you get more eyeballs, and more revenue.

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