Video: Google and Microsoft in smartphone sync

Google has announced the availability of Google Sync, a way to synchronise contacts and calendars between smartphones. The service is compatible with Windows mobile devices thanks to a patent licence it has obtained from Microsoft.

Google has implemented Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol on its own servers rather than Usually companies have to licence Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol to link smartphones to Microsoft Exchange, but Google is using it to link its own server data to smartphones.

Microsoft claimed in a statement that this was an acknowledgment of the "innovation taking place at Microsoft" as well as an example of Microsoft being open to licence their patents under far and reasonable terms as long as licensees "respect Microsoft intellectual property.Licensees of Exchange ActiveSync already include partners and competitors such as Apple, Nokia, Palm, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Microsoft expanded the ActiveSync licensing program in December last year by giving developers the chance to build prototype applications that could sync with Microsoft Exchange server as well as Exchange Active-Sync enabled phones.As well as Windows Mobile, Google Sync, which is still in beta, supports the iPhone, and Symbian and was already available for BlackBerry.It requires a Google account and once Sync is set up, it will automatically begin synchronising a Google web-based address book and calendar in the background with the phone.Sync also uses push technology so any changes to the calendar or contacts is reflected in minutes, so no manual syncing is required. It is also a two-way service, so you can make changes on your phone or your Google account. Marcus Foster, product manager for Google Mobile, said on the official Google blog: "This will be a particularly handy improvement for people who regularly use Google tools, like corporate employees, university students, and busy families."There is also a contacts-only version for phones that support SyncML, such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson.