I'm a big Google services user. I've had a Gmail account since the day the service launched and Gmail has been my default email address since. When Google launched the Calendar service I integrated that into my daily life. Google Talk hasn't taken over the instant messaging world but it quickly became my preferred client. With each iteration of the OS since Leopard, Apple has made it easier to integrate these Google Services, including Address Book into my Mac life. Apple's latest Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion, has been out for some time and Apple has made significant changes to some of the native apps including Mail and iCal that make setup and use of Google services even easier. Let me show you.
## System Preferences ##
The simplest method to setting up Google services on OS X 10.7 is via the _System Preferences_. OS X Lion System Preferences has a new option called _Mail, Contacts & Calendars_ under the _Internet & Wireless_ section. Select it.
## Mail, Contacts & Calendar ##
This section reminds me a bit of the Mail preferences pane in iOS. From here we can set up various email and calendaring services from Yahoo, AOL and others. To setup a particular service, click the _Add Account…_ button and select the icon for the service. In this case, we are setting up Google services so select Gmail. NOTE: This is the same way to set up Google Domain services.
Once you select Gmail you will be prompted to add you Gmail (or Google Domain) username and password. The username should be you complete email address. After entering your credentials click _Setup_.
You may have to wait a few seconds while your Mac connects to Google's service.
Once complete you will be presented with a screen to confirm which services you want enabled. As you can see below, I've selected all of them including iChat. Click _Add Account_ when you are ready to go ahead.
The process for adding Google Domain accounts is similar. You should now be able to use your Google Contacts via the Mac Address Book, your Gmail via Mail.app, and your Google Calendar via iCal. Any changes to your Google Calendar or Contacts will be sync to your Mac and vice versa.
## Final Notes ##
My wife and I each have Google calendars and quite often we have a need to view each others calendars. Google Calendar enables us to make all or part of our calendars sharable for ease of scheduling. I'm involved in a number of social clubs and I have subscribed to their published calendars. The process above will only sync the default Google calendar to OS X. To enable syncing for any subscribed or share calendars you'll need to follow a few more steps.
Launch iCal and select Preferences from the file menu. Select the _Accounts_ tab, the select the Gmail account, and then the _Delegation_ tab. After a few seconds a list of shared and subscribed calendars should appear. Select the check boxes next to the ones you want to view in iCal then close the preferences window.
Google provides a method for accessing their Gmail service via the IMAP protocol. IMAP is a standard protocol for accessing email but unlike POP3 the email stays on the remote server. With POP3 you are limited to reading your email from one location. With IMAP the email stays on the server and you can read it from any computer. IMAP is the method I use to access my Gmail in Apple Mail. If I read an email in a web browser then it is marked as read on the server and in Mail.app. The iPad also has support for IMAP. Google provides no instruction on how to access the calendar service via the iPad but setup is fairly easy.
Google provides a method for accessing their Calendar service via the CalDAV protocol. CalDAV is a standard protocol that allows access to web based calendars from desktop clients like iCal. From iCal I can create calendar entries that appear in my Google web calendar and vice versa. The iPad also has support for CalDAV. Google provides no instruction on how to access the calendar service via the iPad but setup is fairly easy.
Setup Mail and Calendar
To first thing we need to do is launch the Settings app on the iPad and click the Mail, Contact, Calendar tab. We will be presented with several options but we are going to select Gmail.
Enter your email address, password. The Description field is optional but go ahead an enter something to identify the account especially if you have multiple email account. Then select Next.
You will get a message that your account is being verified.
If your user-name and password are correct, the iPad will login you in and return you to the Mail, Contact, Calendar tab. You will now see a list of your mail and calendar accounts. Select the Mail account you just created (this is why it's important to enter something in the Description field). We are going to ensure that we are communicating securely with Google's servers. Select Advanced? Select the switch to ensure that SSL is enabled. SSL is a encryption technology that ensures that the communication between your iPad and Google's servers stays secure. Select "Done" and your mail account will be setup.
Email setup is now complete. Now for calendar. Back at the Add Account screen, select Other. From this screen select Add CalDAV Account.
Enter www.google.com for the server and then add your Google Apps email address and password. If you have a Gmail account enter your email address. Select None. You don't need to add anything under Advanced so just go ahead and select Done. Once your account information is verified you will be returned to the main Mail, Contact, Calendar tab?
You should now be able to sync your calendar and email with Google's services.
What about Contacts?
Neither Google nor Apple provide a way sync Google Contacts with the iPad directly as we have done above with Mail and Calendar. However, all is not lost. Apple provides a way via iTunes and setup is easy.
Plug in your iPad and then select it in iTunes.
Select the the Info tab. Click the Sync Address Book Contact check-box. Then select the All contacts radio button. Next, select the Sync Google Contacts check-box and click the Configure button.
Enter you Google ID and password and click OK. Then click the Sync button and iTunes will sync your current Google Contacts to your iPad. Each time you sync your iPad, iTunes will sync your any changes to your Google Contacts to the iPad Contacts. Changes to iPad Contacts are synced back to Google Contacts.
I love Google Apps and I am excited that I can check or update my mail, calendar or contacts from anywhere - a browser, my Mac, and now, my iPad. I have also written articles on how to sync Google Apps with Mail, Calendar, and Contacts with your iMac.