Google has unveiled a new tool that allows companies using Microsoft Exchange to synchronise their email system with Gmail in order to provide staff with a constant connection to their email account.
Google Message Continuity synchronises Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007 on-premise exchange servers with Google's cloud-hosted Gmail service, meaning that during server downtime, users can log-in to Gmail and continue regular, up-to-date email communication through Google.
"By synchronising your on-premises accounts with Google's cloud, Google Message Continuity gives access to your up-to-date email inboxes (through the Gmail interface) no matter what happens to your on-premises servers," said Matthew O'Connor, product manager for Google Enterprise, in a blog post.
"Once your servers come back after an outage, messages sent and received, plus message state changes recorded by Google Message Continuity, are synchronised with your servers, allowing users to seamlessly transition back to Microsoft Exchange."
The product underlines Google's continued efforts to trumpet the cloud as the future of business-hosted applications, and the ability to easily transition to Google services.
"Since Microsoft Exchange and Gmail are always in sync, there's no need to migrate email data when eventually deploying Google Apps," said Rajen Sheth, group product manager for Google Apps, in a blog post.
"With Gmail, Calendar and Contacts available, users can get familiar with these cloud services without having to abruptly stop using their regular email system."
The service costs an additional $13 (£8) per user per year for current Postini customers, or $25 (£13) per user per year for new customers.
The move highlights the growing battle for customers between Microsoft and Google. Redmond pulled off a coup earlier this week when it announced a 120,000 seat contract with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to supply cloud email and messaging services.
However, Google argued that it was not allowed to pitch for the USDA contract and is taking legal action to ensure that it can bid for other government contracts.
The web giant will be hoping this new Message Continuity service will encourage more firms to switch to Google cloud-based services in the future.
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