Google Calendar Sync for Outlook: Almost good enough

The Problem

Recently, I have been struggling to find a workable solution to synchronize Google Calendar with Microsoft Outlook in order to keep my Blackberry’s events in sync with Outlook and Google Calendar.

The goal is simple:

  • If I enter an event in my Blackberry, I want it to show up in Outlook and Google Calendar.
  • Entering an event in Outlook should show up in my Blackberry and Google Calendar
  • Entering an event in Google Calendar should show up in Outlook and the Blackberry

Why use Outlook? It’s my primary offline storage facility. I mainly use gMail, but my emails are also backed up offline in Outlook when I’m in the office. I want to do the same thing for Google Calendar: to back up events in Outlook. An added advantage is that I use Outlook to synchronize events with the Blackberry as their Desktop Synchronization has never failed me. Also, when I’m in the office, I find that an offline application like Outlook is a bit faster to enter new contacts or events or the send emails (specially with attachments). Outside the office, I use gMail and I now want to use Google Calendar. But, it needs to be synced with the rest!

I first tried Google Sync for Blackberry. Once installed in my Blackberry, it would simply not synchronize events entered manually in my Blackberry and upload these to Google Calendar. Of course, my old Desktop Manager for my new Blackberry continued to do the job and synchronize Outlook but I was left with Google Calendar being not up to date. Events synced with Outlook wouldn’t sync back up to Google Calendar through Google Sync. So no go! De-installed Google Sync.

Enter Google Calendar Sync

Now, Google has announced Google Calendar Sync. It is used to synchronize to Microsoft Outlook. Exactly the missing link I need! If first saw it announced here. GoogleCalendarSync

It will only sync Outlook with your primary Google Calendar. For me it’s OK, I never created additional calendars. The sync options are simple enough:

  • 2-way
  • 1 way: Google Calendar to Microsoft Outlook
  • 1 way: Microsoft Outlook to Google Calendar

I excitedly installed the application ASAP and did a 2 way sync. Fair enough, my Outlook calendar events appeared in Google Calendar (some days now were in bold). I my hurry, I first thought it had created duplicated, because the day I was checking had the event twice! False alert, I remembered I had entered this event in both calendars. I entered new events and Google Calendar and did a manual sync through the app in the tray and my events appeared in Outlook. Great!

Google Calendar Events with guests do not sync!

Then, last night I created an event in Google Calendar for Third Tuesday‘s next event. It’s on March 18 at 6pm at the Lolita Lounge (96 Sherbrooke West). Through Google Calendar, I also invited my wife as I know she wants to go.

After a few hours of work at the office today, I checked Outlook’s calendar for March 18th, expecting my new event to magically appear but it didn’t!

After some testing and trial and error, I came to the conclusion that events with guests will not be synced to Outlook. Be deleting the guests (sorry Kim!), I was able to make the event sync. Since inviting guests was a Google Calendar feature I had never used, it seems like I will refrain from using it for the time being. But what would happen if someone sent me an event invitation I accepted? I suspect it wouldn’t sync either. I’ll probably have to recreate it then.

Since then, I found comments of people having the same problem.

Conclusion

Does not work exactly as advertised. To their credit, they are still showing the “Beta” tag beside the name of the app. But then again, like gMail, will it be in Beta status for years?

In any case, knowing about its caveats should make it a good enough solution for me.

Use with caution.

3 thoughts on “Google Calendar Sync for Outlook: Almost good enough

  1. PLR

    On a synchronisé tous nos Outlook avec Google au bureau (pour éviter de financer M$ ). La seule solution stable semble être SyncMyCal

  2. I had similar challenges. Also, it will only sync with your PRIMARY google calendar. I found another program which is a lot more flexible and pretty cheap.

    http://www.syncmycal.com

    Been working well for about 6 months now.

    Good luck.
    -Quin’

  3. Milton

    I really feel the problem from you blog. And thanks for the solution google calender sync. Thank you so much.

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