The Google Apps I use in my firm—Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts—have some great features. They also have some crippling omissions that frustrate me on a daily basis.

No integrated search

Google is a search company, so why is search so limited within Google Apps? In good old, antiquated Outlook, I can find e-mails, contacts, appointments, and tasks with one search (for, say “Joe Smith”). In Google Apps, I have to visit four different sites and run four different searches to do the same thing.

The lack of integration—both search and in general—between Google Apps is one of the biggest reasons I am considering a move to Exchange or Zimbra.

No shared contacts

Every business needs to be able to maintain shared contacts lists. Google Apps can’t. I realize they have an API (application programming interface) that programmers can use to do this, but nothing for the “normal” user—i.e., Google’s best customers. There are other workarounds, like regularly exporting everyone’s contacts and importing everyone else’s exported files, but those are ridiculously inconvenient. This is not a lack of integration between Google Apps, it is a lack of integration between Google users.

I want the ability to share contacts easily with everyone in my Apps domain. But I do not want to share every contact, just the contacts or contact groups I designate.

I also would like to be able to sync my contacts between my firm’s Google Apps account and my regular Google Account. Without that ability, things like Google Voice have severely limited utility.

No shared e-mail

Working effectively with assistants usually means giving them (at least partial) access to your e-mail. With Gmail, there is no good way to do this. Sure, you can give your assistant your username and password, but setting aside the security problem this presents, it is a royal pain in the ass.

I want to be able to share a folder/label, including my inbox, with anyone in my domain with just a couple of clicks.

Most of Google’s applications are no longer in beta, but many still feel like it. If this is the finished product, I would sure like to know, because if so, I need to find something else, free or not.

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