Google G Suite into 3rd party app

As an IT professional, I often have the energy and interest to do some extra work, to get my desired setup working. But non-IT persons want the ease to start using fast and easy.

So our company uses Google G Suite. Have been for a couple of years, and before that, I’ve always used Microsoft (MS) products and Exchange services. During these last years I’ve got use to G Suite, and there are many things I even prefer over MS tools.

What I do miss from the MS times is Outlook. Gmail works well for the most parts, but some things just flows better in Outlook. One weaker side of Gmail is the strain on the computer. Although Outlook is a rather large program, in my experience, it get’s things smoother done. When Gmail in a browser starts, well, lagging. This can be noticed in many ways, but the most obvious is the RAM and processor working overtime, and thus the machine heats up, and needs to be cooled down by the fans.

As I use Google Chrome as my primary browser, it results in many many many tabs open, and one more is not helping the situation. So when Gmail receives a long system error mail, the browser just does not manage this. My PC should be up to the task, as I only have an 2 years old Dell XPS 15, with 16Gb of RAM and 256Gb SSD harddrive. I’ve even reinstalled it in 2020 for other reasons, so it’s not like there’s an old Windows making it’s mark on the problem.

So with this background, I decided to install Outlook to transfer some of the main load from Chrome to an third party mail app.

Primary function in Outlook = email

The mail got installed with small effort.

  1. Set up an application password in Google. (if you have 2-factor authentication active)
  2. Start Outlook –> Create new Profile –> type in the email address and choose to manually do the setting –> pick Google from the next screen –> type my password (the app password created in step 1) –> Connect –> and your Done. Easy. 🙂

Secondary critical function in Outlook = calendar

Well, depending on what the restrictions are from your company’s IT, this can be made easy, or frustratingly hard. In my case, the calendar can be shared outside of my employer only by “busy/free” information.  Outlook can’t retrieve the Google Calendar as web page into the Outlook window, and well, as noted, I only got the information brought to Outlook with busy/free information. So that did not work for me.

And free/busy is not enough, so that left me only to export the calendar from Google Calendar, and then import it into outlook. That’s a shame, because now there’s no active link, and if I were to step back to browser calendar, it won’t show the latest version. I can only use the on my pc. If I want to have an updated calendar on my phone, I must accept the meetings in both Gmail and in Outlook. Truly not optimal. 😦

Third critical function in Outlook = contacts

At this point I decided to still possibly use Outlook as mail app, and still needed my contacts brought over from Google contacts, and behold, that did not work either. Just like with the calendar, it was not as easy as one would hope.

Did not find a way to connect Outlook directly to Google Contacts so had to export/import that as well, which means that it will slowly and steadily get old, and as there is no direct sync to the company directory, I can’t just look up new contacts with ease there either.

Calendar and contacts are still important things to use, and after many many many try’s, I got seriously frustrated. At this point my hopes of having Outlook with it’s power in my use, I remembered that I used to use a app called eM Client for mail. It was some time ago but I checked it up nonetheless.

eM Client

Downloaded the app, installed it, started it, wrote my email address, my password (not an app password, the real one), it worked by itself for a couple of minutes and BOOM! All done.
Calendar, email and contacts. Even got hooked up with the chat.

Got the company directory contact’s and everything.
So at this point, how can it be so hard for Microsoft to get their ducks aligned, when a smaller company get’s everything made this easy?

I understand that MS interest is that customers use their products, their Exchange etc, but at some point this path they’ve went on will result in more frustration and anger then anything else.
I also understand, that eM Client ain’t as powerful as Outlook, but it still does what I aimed for, getting a dedicated mail, calendar and contact program, that hopefully does not strain on the pc the same way, these functions would have in Chrome.

In a previous post, I wrote about an app called Franz. The app is still great, and will probably continue to use it side by side with eM, as it has several other channels I use, but mail and calendar might fall off now.

So now starts the eM use period, and I have to see how this holds up.

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