Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook Now Live in Harmony
There are two things we like about Mainsoft's (news, site) latest solutions: 1) they enable us to connect our Outlook client with SharePoint or Google Apps and 2) they are free.

 

Transforming the Email Experience

That's right, email is really not going anywhere, anytime soon. We're just a little too attached to sending and receiving those emails. According to Matt Cain, research vice president and Gartner’s lead e-mail analyst,

“We believe the ultimate role of the e-mail client is to aggregate communication and collaboration streams from many modalities into one common interface. In this way, the e-mail client becomes the communication and collaboration master console — a universal queue, so to speak.” 

Mainsoft's latest set of solutions takes our email experience and mixes in some collaborative capabilities allowing us to work in the environment we know and love so well (or at least are addicted to).

Harmony is a sidebar that integrates into Microsoft Outlook providing access to one of two very well known, and popular, collaboration environments: Google Apps and SharePoint.

We spent some time with Yaacov Cohen, CEO of Mainsoft, taking a look at both these integrated sidebars.

Harmony for Google Docs

Harmony for Google Docs connects your Outlook client to your Google Docs environment, allowing you to add, edit and share your Google Docs (word, spreadsheet, presentation).

You can view the contents of your sidebar by Folder, document type, your own documents, starred documents or you can search on a keyword.

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Harmony for Google Apps

Google Docs permissions can even be set from within the Outlook environment, so you don't have to go to Google Docs to assign permissions to your documents. Using contacts from both Outlook and Google Docs you can change permissions as required.

You can also drag and drop document attachments in your emails to the Google Docs sidebar and have them instantly uploaded into the Google Docs environment.  Anything uploaded is converted to the Google Docs format -- the new API that allows you to upload other formats and have them stay in that uploaded format was not available when Mainsoft was working on this solution).

In addition, you can drag and drop Google Docs to the desktop and they are immediately transformed into MS Office format (or OpenOffice if you use that productivity solution).

Harmony for SharePoint

Harmony for SharePoint should look very familiar if you follow the work Mainsoft does with SharePoint connectivity.  The code for this solution is based on the code for the SharePoint Lotus Notes Integrator.

Mainsoft started integrating SharePoint with Lotus Notes, providing a sidebar in the Notes environment. The Outlook SharePoint integration is pretty much the same.

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Harmony for SharePoint

View your SharePoint document libraries by folder or by favorites. You can view one or more SharePoint sites in the sidebar and access permissions are automatic based on what you have set up within SharePoint.

Reducing the Email Footprint

We often talk about the issue of having our documents stored in our email, causing both archiving and compliance issues. Solutions like these from Mainsoft attempt to resolve these issues.

You are strongly recommended by the software not to attach actual documents to your emails, but send links to them instead. And you can quickly and easily take attached files out of emails and place them in the appropriate location for sharing and collaboration.

What's nice about these two solutions is that they are free, so you can download each one and get started right away. Cohen told us there will be an enterprise version which will cost, but offer the support many organizations require.

So, using Outlook, SharePoint or Google Docs? Get yourself setup with the new tools now: