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!
This service looked promising but was apparently shut down with the introduction of Google Calendar Sync in 2008. Dead in the water.
SyncEvolution looks like it might have legs but is still very much in the developer-realm and developed. Early days.
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 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!
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)
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.