How Gmail Replaced my Exchange Server...Really!

How Gmail Replaced my Exchange Server...Really!

When we graduated from grad school we had many nasty realizations. Not the least of which was that we no longer had the wonderful IT supported Exchange server from our university. Over the years, we've become Exchange power users, enjoying the myriad of its features. Suddenly, we were without our integrated calendar & contacts that synced over the air. We did some research and found out that Gmail has implemented the Active Sync protocol and with its calendaring, contacts and email. Meaning we can duplicate core Exchange functionality for free. One of the best features that we discovered on our iPhone was that we could receive push email from Gmail once we started using Active Sync!

Nothing beats the complete work suite advantage of Exchange for user integration of services. Yet, there is a massive lurking problem with Exchange; it is prohibitively expensive and without an IT department, you the user are hosed (bless IT). Thankfully Gmail supports Exchange Active Sync protocol, so you can sync all of your stuff with the same ease as Exchange.

We discovered the one flaw of Gmail's Active Sync implementation, we could no longer sync our notes with our iPhone when we switched from IMAP. But, we figured out that all we had to do was just add a second gmail account and not sync anything but notes. Voila we have duplicated the parts of exchange we needed most for free. We have linked to setup instructions below for a number of devices.

iOS Set Up Instructions

Windows Mobile Instructions

Desktop instructions are not available on Google, if you need them email the author, or figure them out through trial and error. As Google does not post desktop client instructions, it is purely unsupported and we offer no assurance it will work for you.

(Top image: flickr member bengrey licensed under Creative Commons)

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