How to amp up Google Apps with unified communications

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Microsoft's Lync product is reasonably well connected ("integratable") with its Office productivity applications. Google Apps? Now that's another story, says Brian Riggs.

Riggs, an analyst at Ovum, walks through the puzzle of integrating UC capabilities with Google Apps on No Jitter. For the time being, Riggs says, third-party software is necessary to connect the dots. "Persistent rumors" say Google will eventually turn Google+ into a communications back-end for its applications; if and when that happens--and G+ comm functionality gets some upgrades--then third-party options may become unnecessary.

- Right now, OfficeLinx for Google Apps, from Esna Technologies, is a good starting place. Among other functions, OfficeLinx can integrate existing voicemail systems with Gmail, for example, or serve as a standalone voicemail component.

gUnify is a smaller and younger company than Esna, but specializes in integrating UC services into Google Apps. Call logging and CRM integration are sample features that gUnify offers.

Verizon's cloud-based Virtual Communications Express (VCE) service offers click-to-call functionality within Gmail via a Google-specific app.

Unify (the artist formerly known as Siemens Enterprise Communications) has indicated it will build Google Apps integration into its forthcoming Ansible UC product line.

For more:
- read the No Jitter post

More on office apps and unified communications:
IT: 'Do as I say, not as I do' with SaaS apps
Amazon, Google and Microsoft are tops in developer survey
The quest for the enterprise communications hub