Synchronizing Outlook Calendar to Google Calendar

April 16, 2011

Reviews, Technology

I recently decided to publish (merge) my Outlook Calendar (Exchange) to my Google Calendar as a discrete calendar  – that is, as a fifth calendar on top of my existing four calendars) – doing so would allow me to see my combined commitments at a glance.  Since my iPhone gets its calendars from Google Calendar, they would all be [thus] available in-turn on my phone.

In this situation, I only wanted to one-way push my Outlook Calendar into Google Calendar – mainly because I am not yet comfortable with these applications safely writing back to my Outlook/Exchange server (and potentially suffering the wrath of my corporate IT keepers) – I am just not convinced that any of things like time zone shifts and invitees linked from LDAP sever

Finding the right product was tricky however, and during the search I stumbled across a couple of duds. So, for those looking to embark on a similar journey, I thought I’d share some notes and experiences.

Google Calendar Sync

This product is promising – a simple task tray icon and the option to sync one-way or two-way.  At a glance, it looks like the perfect solution – however, it has one major shortcoming – it does not allow syncing to a particular calendar in your Google Calendar setup (only to your default calendar). Fail!

ScheduleWorld

This service looked promising but was apparently shut down with the introduction of Google Calendar Sync in 2008. Dead in the water.

SyncEvolution

SyncEvolution looks like it might have legs but is still very much in the developer-realm and developed.  Early days.

reQall

An seemingly impressively-featured product, but it’s simply too hard to positively determine whether it would deliver the required functionality.  A trial of the product is locked behind a paywall (albeit uncharged until 30 days of use). Come on guys, have a little courage – offer your product for trial with a credit card. reQall.com. No free trial / confusing explantion of features.

SyncMyCal

SyncMyCal provides an task tray application that resides on the machine with your Outlook Calendar. To a schedule you select it pushes your Outlook calendar to your chosen Google Calendar.  The service worked reasonably well for a couple weeks (after purchasing it), however some strange issues were encountered (unsynced/unmoved updated calendar items, a “Backdoor.Trojan” infection and  proxy/negotiation issues), support for which was practically non-existent.  I’ve given up on this product (despite paying for it) – when you’re dealing with one’s second most precious data (behind say files themselves), this sort of response (or lack thereof) just leaves me cold.  Woeful support!

MemoToo

Whilst MemoToo can be overwhelming complex (at first glance) and overly complicated, MemoToo does the job quite nicely.  It should be noted that this is more of a aggregated solution rather than a one-off product, but it’s reasonable straightforward.

Whilst it probably started life as an online calendar, contacts manager and file storage application (very AJAXy) for a vast array calendar and mobile phone pairing, I was attracted to this solution because if offered syncing of my Outlook Calendar to a selected Google Calendar.  Granted, it does this in a long handed way – Outlook to MemoTooCalendar, then, MemoTooCalendar to Google Calendar – but so far it’s working very well.

For about $20 a year, ,the price is not unreasonable given the benefits provided.  To affect the synchronisation, you install the free Funambol Outlook plugin – this provides a syncronisation conduit between your Outlook Calendar and MemoToo.

Why use MemoToo as the middle man?  Well, it seems that the Funambol plugin must interact with a Funambol Server in order to then synchronise with Google Calendar – i.e., the Funambol Plugin cannot talk directly to Google Calendar (what a shame!) – as this explanation points out, rather convolutedly, in the case of the [now defunct] ScheduleWorld, which operated in the same way a MemoToo does).

So far, I’ve observed only a few limitations:

  • whilst syncing between Outlook and MemoToo can be configured down to 5 minute intervals, subsequent synching from MemoToo to Google Calendar can only be done hourly, daily or weekly (presumably this is a bandwidth cost issue for MemoToo)
  • long-winded set-up, although stick with it and follow the instructions carefully – it’s worth it
  • the web interface is unorthodox, however once setup, you really don’t ever need to visit the deal with the web view
  • the Funamobol Outlook plugin is locked down to show “two-way” synchronisation – buried deep within the sychronisation logs (of MemoToo) is an option to change this to one-way (where as it should be located on the Setting page)
Unorthodox but functional toolbar

Unorthodox but functional toolbar

MemoToo offer a free plan, monthly and yearly payement options (significantly discounted).  Though I’ve only had onecontact with Support, the response was very prompt and helpful.  Looking good so far.

Have you had a different experience? If so, please add a comment.

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About Justin Moss

An information and engineering technologist. Unabashedly opinionated, open-minded and an oft overthinker. Born Sydney Australia, home of the 'Southerly Buster'

View all posts by Justin Moss

10 Responses to “Synchronizing Outlook Calendar to Google Calendar”

  1. Thomas Says:

    “whilst syncing between Outlook and MemoToo can be configured down to 5 minute intervals, subsequent synching from MemoToo to Google Calendar can only be done hourly, daily or weekly (presumably this is a bandwidth cost issue for MemoToo)”

    When an event is added to Memotoo (after a sync with Outlook for example), it is automatically to Google Calendar.
    When an event is added in Google Calendar, it is added in Memotoo one hour later in the worst case.

    Thanks for this post Justin 😉

  2. Thomas Says:

    I have updated the web interface.
    So I hope you will like the interface now 😉

  3. Justin Moss Says:

    The stronger header colour (was white) certainly improves the definition of the navigation menu from the all-wihite stark background. Nice one Thomas! that’s a step in the right direction.

  4. Kurt Woodham Says:

    Hi – not sure if you’ve hit a good solution yet (came across your article about a year after you posted it). Please give gSyncit a look – I’ve used it for years to push my work contacts and calendar out to Google. Does bi-directional syncs as well. Has been rock solid for me all along.

  5. Malcolm Says:

    I am terribly frustrated with Memotoo support. I’ve paid my premium fee, but there is still no response to a bug I’ve posted in the forum they provide. And it’s a bug that’s been around for ages, if I search the forum. Not even a single response that says ‘we’re working on it’, or even ‘sorry, cannot be fixed’. They have absolutely NO SUPPORT.

  6. Jay Says:

    I would add another FAIL to Google Calendar Synch. I bit the bullet and renamed my default Google calendar to “Work,” and had it working for a couple of years. With issues – occasionally, synch would fail with an error for no apparent reason, and when you manually synch it would not work. Well, it gave up the ghost this past summer, and I haven’t gotten it to work since. For no apparent reason. We have done a bunch of switches – to newer versions of Outlook (now on 2007), back-end from our own to Microsoft Office 365, and so on – none of them tripped it up, I cannot explain why it stopped working. So it appears this is not a long-term solution. I’ll check out MemoToo, thanks!

  7. Bernd Wechner Says:

    I’m missing why the focus on “synching” I find when truying find a solution to my Google/Outlook calendar schism.

    I don’t want to synch anything. I want too “see” something thing live in another tool. That is I want to see my Outlook calendar live in my google calendar. Not synched, fetched on demand. WebOutlook provides access to it, so I’m always logging onto web outlook to see it. But I use google calendar and on it already have amnay calendars. I’d like to see one listed there “My Outlook Calendar” for example and if it’s displays trust that Im seeing what I see in Web Outlook.

    Not some snapshoot as at last synch, not some copy Google have of it taken at some time, but how it looks now in my Outlook.

  8. Justin Moss Says:

    Hi Malcolm, I have come across the occasional bug with MemoToo, but have found Thomas (webmaster@memotoo DOT com) to always be responsive to the issues I’ve raised. Suggest you email him direct.

  9. Justin Moss Says:

    Buried deep in Google’s help pages I think is an instruction not to rename the default calendar. It is for this reason that I decided to leave the default calendar (primary) as “Personal”, with additional calendars being “Work”, etc. I continue to use the Memotoo*/Funambol solution with no real problems – it’s a little bit clunky (reaD: Heath Robinson) to setup, but once in-place, runs fine.

    *I have no financial or other relationship with Memotoo.

  10. Justin Moss Says:

    Hi Bernd, what you need sounds like a mirror – I suspect that the processing requirements for this are just oo heavy. What I can tell you is that the synching I use is practically instantaneous, with the proviso being that you must manually ‘push’ your Outlook Calendar to Google if you don’t want to wait for the scheduled update (mine is set to every 15 minutes).

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