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First one to get Google Calendar to sync with Outlook wins!

Update August 22, 2006 – Jake Ludington has a post on how to accomplish Google Calendar/Outlook two way sync using RemoteCalendars, but it’s not working for me. I get the RemoteCalendars toolbar in Outlook, but none of the buttons do anything when clicked. Post a comment if you have any ideas on fixing this, or if you got it working.

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I can’t be the only one dreaming about this functionality. I’m anchored to MS Outlook because 100,000+ employees at Intel all use it for email, and most importantly, calendar scheduling. So moving to a non-Exchange calendar isn’t going to happen, as long as I’m employed by Intel.

Also, because I’m a big Windows Mobile fan, I need to be able to sync my calendar easily to my Pocket PC phone or other WM device. I know there are non-MS solutions to this part, but my dependency on Windows Mobile coupled with the corporate foothold Exchange has means that I’m not likely to be free of Outlook any time soon.

Unless…

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a workable two-way sync solution between Outlook and Google Calendar? I’d love to be able to access and update my calendar from anywhere, in my browser, rather than have to fire up Outlook. And syncing gCal with Outlook would keep my Windows Mobile devices up to date.

The pieces seem like they’re all there. Google Calendar emits both iCal and Atom. It can import CSV from Outlook. What’s missing is the “glue” piece, that enables two way syncronization to happen. I predict that the first product/company to reallly nail this will be very popular and successful. 🙂

Some companies are already working on it, it seems – RSS Popper for one. Do you think the solution will come from an established software company, or an enterprising hacker geek who whipped it up, just because he can?

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100 thoughts on “First one to get Google Calendar to sync with Outlook wins!

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  4. I’m looking for the same thing with iCal. My calendars are on my smartphone (Treo.) I like them there. They’re offline and instantly accessible. For backup purposes, the phone happens to sync with/backup to iCal, which I rarely use except for the occasional bit of data-entry. It basically ends up being another user interface to what I consider the “original” datastore on the phone. Ideally, Google Calendar could be yet another user interface to that same data. I don’t want to import my phone data (implying migrating my workflow entirely to Google with occasional SMS alerts), I want to synchronize my phone data.

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  6. I don’t/can’t use OWA because Intel doesn’t allow access to it outside the network. I have to VPN in to the Intel network before I can access OWA, and at thot point, I may as well use Outlook.

  7. Seems to me that Google Desktop already has an Outlook Addin (Tools>Options>Other>Advanced>COM Addins) that watches for email sent and received to index with Desktop. Would it be that hard to extend the Desktop addin to sync appointments with Calendar?

    My bet is that Google will release Outlook sync powered by Desktop.

  8. Mikael says:

    That seems unlikely, because of confidentiality issues. Very often, calendar requests include information that could be considered confidential, as well as bridge numbers, and other information that shouldn’t really be outside of Intel. I’d be careful with that.

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  10. I just installed Remote Calendars v. 4.84 on Outlook 2003 Pro and it works great syncing my Google Calendars to Outlook for my Pocket PC. The only pain is installing two runtimes, but other than that is works as expected with no issues so far. Highly recommended.

    You’ll need these to make it work:
    http://elfurl.com/dprxi
    http://elfurl.com/zfemg

  11. Paul says:

    That’s a pretty cool plug-in… it only took about five minutes to set up and it seems to do what its supposed to… my only complaints are that it seems kind of slow… and… I rely heavily on the color coding that I get with Outlook and Google, when I pulled data back into my Outlook calendar my color coding went away.

  12. Paul says:

    Actually! I think I’ll take that “cool plug-in” stuff back… I cant seem to get it to push the calendar back to Google, so it doesn’t seem to truly be a 2 way sync… its basically just downloading raw data and putting it in the right box (sometimes)… 🙁

  13. thanks for all the hints, but Paul is right. If we use “sync” there needs to be a way back from outlook to google. the problem IMHO is that google allows read-access, but no way of writing!?

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  16. Markus says:

    I agree for me it’s a dealbreaker if I can’t synchronize it easaly with outllook som i’m looking forward to a good solution, would be a great way to synchronize my calendar between computers.

  17. Gish says:

    A single app, like a plugin for outlook would be awesome. Simple install.
    I would (almost) be prepared to pay for that!

  18. Hi,
    I’m the main developer of the RemoteCalendars plugin…the new version (5.0) can publish (with some strong limitations, the Google API aren’t yet perfect…no recurrence :(() from Outlook to Google Calendar.
    When a better API will be released, I’ll work as hard as I can to make a complete 2-way sync 🙂
    HTH

    LastHope

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  20. Nuno Fernandes says:

    RemoteCalendars works 100% (at least for me) on Outlook 2003, but is there a similar solution for Outlook 2002?

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  22. Back when I used Yahoo there was an app that acted as a 2 way sync and worked perfectly. I can’t remember who made that, but hopefully they’ll do the same for Google.

  23. Nuno, unfortunately, there is nothing at the moment for Outlook 2002…
    Outlook 2003 and 2002 use different libraries, so if you make a plugin for one version, it won’t work for the other…
    And I’ve got only Outlook 2003 on my computer…if I had got Outlook 2002, I’d have made a version of RC probably also for Outlook 2002 too…

  24. Actually, what we need is CalDAV support. That will do all the hard work, without hacks or workarounds. I’m not sure if either Outlook or Google Calendar are planning to support it, but they should!

  25. Hmm, actually I’ve heard that CalDAV is way too complex as Calendar Protocol…
    I’ve got a busy list of features of what should be implemented into RemoteCalendars, but I thought GroupDAV would be easier…and would do almost the same…

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  28. Anon says:

    CompanionLink doesn’t work and, even if it worked, it is sync’ing between gCal and Palm Desktop. I don’t know a single Palm user that actually uses Palm Desktop so the app is worthless. Sync gCal to my Palm or skip it. The whole point is to AVOID crappy intermediary software like Outlook or Desktop. Duh!

  29. Well I have my office outlook, gcalender and apple’s ical and pocketpc synced all together.

    I use gcalendar for private calendar editing. Outlook for office app. editing.

    I used the apple iCal apps to read the gcalenders with the ical option.
    I Sync iCal with the tool the missing sync on apple. This copies all gcalender appointments via iCal via missing sync to my pocketpc. Which in his turn syncs the app. to my office outlook agenda. Which now contains ALL appointments. Private and Office. The sync with outlook copies the office appointments to the pocketpc, which in his turn with the apple syncs it to gcalender 😀

    So both my gcalendar and outlook contain all appointments.
    I edit private appointments in Google and Office appointments in outlook.

    Hope this helps some ppl.

    I use:

    Outlook
    Google Calender
    Apple’s iCal
    http://www.icalx.com for transfering Apple’s iCal office appointments to google.
    PocketPC 2002

  30. Nick says:

    I can get it to “work” using his instructions, but I don’t understand exactly what it is supposed to do.

    Does it allow you to enter something in Outlook, and have it show up in gCal? Or is it just if you want to enter in in gCal and have it show up in Outlook.

    Also, I have multiple calendars, Holidays, Football Schedule, Bills etc. Can these be added too? Or is this only for your main calendar?

  31. Dave says:

    I too work at Intel … and the buttons don’t work for me either. I am guessing that IT somehow disables 3rd party plugins, since by default the toolbar didn’t show up either

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  33. Jeroen Houben says:

    35000+ page views a week explains only that there is no decent solution to this. I used snoopsoft’s webcalendar. But it isn’t working either.
    I even paid for it :s

    Really a pain in the ass that there is no simple application for it.

    It is also important I can see all my calenders, not one.

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  35. ws6fire says:

    Wow. I love my Cingular 8125 windows mobile 5 (sluggish somtimes though) and I have a hosted google account. My goal would be to sync with gcal directly from my phone without using a desktop as a connection!

    I use my phone as a laptop replacment. If it never needs to connect to a real computer I’d be super happy.

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