Dec 28, 2010

Google Sync: The Poor Man's Answer to MobileMe

One of the benefits that Blackberry owners have is push email. With push email, as soon as an email comes in to your inbox, it arrives on your device. Apple's answer to that is MobileMe, which automatically syncs your mail, contacts, and calendars, even when you are away from your computer. MobileMe, except for the Find My iPhone feature, is not free, however. For a single user, it will cost you $99 per year. For an entire family, it will cost you $149 per year. On top of that, if you want to take advantage of the push email, you have to use a new MobileMe email address. Although MobileMe gives you a few other nice features, these are the primary features.

If you already have Gmail, there is a free alternative that works really well. (If you don't have Gmail, I highly suggest switching to it. It's free, gives you a lot of space, and there is no better email service for eliminating spam and searching your email.) This free alternative is called Google Sync. With Google Sync:

  • When email arrives, it immediately shows up on your iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad).
  • When you add or change a contact in Gmail, it immediately (within seconds, usually) is added or changed in your contacts app on your iOS device.
  • When you add it to your contacts app, it is changed in your Gmail contacts.
  • When you add an entry to your Google Calendar, it shows up in your iOS device's calendar app.
  • When you add an entry to your iOS device's calendar, it shows up in your Google Calendar.
  • You can have Google Sync sync shared calendars. For example, I have a personal Google Calendar and so does my wife. We have Google Calendar set up to share our calendars with each other. I often check her calendar before I make a commitment to make sure I don't conflict with something she is doing or our family is doing. This is incredibly useful, as you can imagine.
Once it is set up, all this happens without you having to do anything special. Setup is very easy, also. Follow these instructions and you will have it set up in less than two minutes.

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