Friday, January 16, 2009

Syncing Google Calendar to Outlook





This post covers two points:
  • The ability to sync Outlook with a Google Calendar
  • The rationale for doing so
I was surprised at how easy the process was. If you are sitting at a computer which houses your Outlook data, you are about 5 minutes away from being able to see your Outlook dates on Google Calendar.

You must first have a Google account. The next step is to create a Google calendar. You will see a list of Google features. If "Calendar" is not one of them, look for "More" and click there. Once you have created a Google calendar, you can now sync with Outlook.

Click here to see an easy article that takes you through the process.

I was prompted to download and run an installer. On my desktop, I then had a shortcut which would take me straight to the Google Calendar. In the Windows System Tray, I had an icon which allows me to edit settings and manually sync. It was that simple.

Why would you want to be able to sync Outlook with a Google Calendar?
  • One tremendous advantage I see is that if someone else has some responsibility for managing your appointments, Google Calendar is the perfect way for that person to view and add to your calendar. To begin, the other person would need to sit at the computer which actually houses the Outlook pst file on it and go to their Google calendar. That will set up the link between that particular Outlook pst file (the file where Outlook data is kept) and that particular Google calendar. From there on, that second person can view and add items from his/her own work station and the results appear on the Outlook calendar.
  • Similarly, one spouse may want to create a Google Calendar to view the other's Outlook calendar.
  • A person who houses their calendar on Outlook yet does not sync it to a smartphone could certainly benefit. Syncing Outlook to a Google Calendar gives the ability to view it from anywhere. In particular, web access from a smartphone would keep a person in touch with their calendar just by pulling the smartphone from their pocket.
I do not think that a Google calendar is the answer for everyone. Personally, syncing my BlackBerry to Outlook gives me my calendar, tasks with all of the related details, a very complete list of contacts, and tones of "Notes" information, and it's all a couple of clicks away. I am not dependent upon quality or availablility of cell phone reception in order to see where I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to be doing. For many others, a Google Calendar synced to Outlook may just be what the doctor ordered.

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