Google App Sync stops Outlook indexing email

(Please note the update at the bottom of this article)

If you you’re a corporate user of Google Apps you may well have been playing with the Googles recent release of Google Apps Sync for Outlook.

It’s basically a plug-in for Outlook that allows it to access email, calendars, contacts and global address lists from Google Apps rather than Microsoft Exchange.  It’s a pretty big release for Google I reckon.  With everyone including MS moving email services into the cloud, if Google can provide the same level of Outlook user experience from Apps as people expect from Exchange (at least for these basic services), it positions Google Apps as a more credible alternative to Exchange Online than ever before.

In practice the add-in seems to work a lot like the Live Mail add-in.  Rather than enabling the MAPI protocol on the backend, the add-in extends Outlook so that it can communicate with Google directly (though I should qualify that… I’ve not looked into it in detail, but that’s what it initially looks like).

Anyway… Whilst looking for some other stuff this morning I spotted this KB article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.  It looks like Google have been a little cheeky with some of the settings that are configured when installing the add-in.   From the article:

“The installation of the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook disables the ability of Outlook to search the Outlook data. When you install the sync plug-in for Outlook, the sync plug-in changes a registry key. This disables Windows Desktop Search from indexing and providing search functionality for all Outlook data, not just the Outlook data being synchronized from GMail. Because Outlook search relies on the indexing performed by Windows Desktop Search, Outlook search functions are broken.”

Whilst I’m sure that there are sound technical reasons why Google chose to disable the integration between Outlook and Windows Search, the cynic in me does wonder if the Google recommend fix might be install Google Desktop Search :)

Fortunately you can turn the searching back on by changing the registry key back:

1. Click Start button, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

2. Locate the following registry subkey:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search

3. Double-click the PreventIndexingOutlook registry entry.

4. In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.

5. On the File menu, click Exit.

(backup your registry, I take no responsibility, yadda yadda!)

Update:  It looks like I posted to soon – it looks like Google have released a fix  that solves this problem and addresses a few other niggles.  It’s really good to see Google and MS working to fix these things quickly.  Thanks to @MattBrowne for pointing out yesterdays update from Google!

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