Google Calendar 2-Way Sync & Contacts

It seems we all are looking for the ‘magic bullet’ of syncing software. We want to be able to access our email, contacts and calendar remotely, on our main computer and on our PDA.

A big ‘must’ for Virtual Assistants is the ability to access our clients’ calendars. We need access to post appointments, send invitations to meetings or find free time for setting up meetings, trips, etc.

When I moved a client to using gmail so I could access her email, I did some research into the google calendaring feature. I had heard so many great things about the google calendar and how easily it synced with people’s smart phones and outlook and other mail programs.

To my delight, I found that Google had introduced the very desirable ‘2-way sync’ feature earlier this year. Google has all the instructions here.

So, download the file and follow the instructions to install it (you’ll have to have outlook closed). After installation, you’ll get the below box where you’ll then enter your gmail address and password. Then you will want to select the 2-way radio button. The only other option is how often to sync. Default is 120″, the lowest interval you can select is 10″.

Google Calendar Sync Options
Google Calendar Sync Options

Then pull up outlook and you’ll see a little calendar icon in your system tray. Hover your mouse over it and it identifies itself. When you see arrows moving on the icon, you know it’s syncing.

If you have more than one google calendar, it will only sync to your main calendar, so choose wisely. If you have a calendar further down on your list, you can go into the google calendar settings and decide which calendar will be your main calendar (a nice feature).

In addition to the sync function, google also has some other interesting calendar features. For example, code is provided if you want to insert your calendar inside your blog or website – handy if you have events to publicize. There are a host of options available for sharing your calendar on-line with others. Just choose the permissions you want others to have.

I’ve been using it for several months and it seems to be working well. You can also import your outlook contacts into google. From outlook, I did a file export into a .csv file (currently the only supported import/export method), and then imported that into google. More information here.

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