My most popular posts have been about calendar syncing. With so many of us using Google, Yahoo, Outlook, Windows Live and Plaxo and our smart phones, it’s complicated keeping everything in sync among our devices and platforms.
New With Google Calendar
- offline access to gain read-only access to your calendar, just go to any page on your calendar and click the ‘offline’ button at the top. You’ll be prompted to download and install Google Gears and then you can configure all or just one of your Google calendars for off-line access.
- Attach documents to Google calendar. This is a nice feature – activate by going to the ‘Labs’ section and enabling and saving. Then open or initiate your meeting/appointment, click ‘Attachment’ and add any Google doc (limited to Google docs only).
- Snooze reminders on your desktop. This is a Google Talk download that will put reminders that you can snooze on your desktop.
- Google 1-way (Google to Outlook), 1-way (Outlook to Google), or 2-way (Both calendars synced to the same appointments) sync. This one’s been around for awhile, but it was on the ‘New’ page. This feature is the most popular with Outlook users. There will be a download for this feature as well. I’m not using it now, but I have in the past and it’s a great tool, especially when working with a client. You are able to get web access to their calendar to add events, appointments, etc. and they will sync with the client’s Outlook calendar.
- Sports calendars – add game schedules from your favorite team(s). Find this feature near the top of your calendar page.
Google’s calendar documentation says it will sync with Outlook 2003 or 2007 and with Mozilla’s Sunbird and Apple’s iCal. If you have Windows Live Calendar, you can import an .ics file from Google. It’s a bit convoluted, but you first go to your Google calendar, export your calendar as an .ics file, extract it and then import the file with the .ics extension into your Windows Live calendar.
If you don’t want to use the sync program from Google, you could export your calendar events from Outlook to a .csv file and import them into Google. To do this, have Outlook open and go to File>import/export>export to file>comma separated values (Windows) and then you’ll choose your calendar to export. Then it’s simple to go to Google and get to your Calendar Settings page and click on the import button, find your file and bring it in. You will be able to select a date range during this process.
You can perform the reverse as well – export your Google Calendar and bring those appointments into Outlook.
If you’re wondering about contacts syncing between Outlook and Google, this is available from Google in their premium ‘Google Apps’ product. You can still import your contacts. You can still import and export contacts between Google and Outlook, they just won’t be synced.
Plaxo Calendar Changes
I wrote awhile back about Plaxo’s features and benefits. Since then, some changes have been made. They are now requiring a ‘premium subscription’ at $60/year for something they used to do for free. That is the syncing of appointments and contacts between Outlook and Plaxo calendars. The premium feature also includes syncing of tasks and finding and eliminating duplicate contacts.
Plaxo still offers their ‘Sync Points’ for the below apps for free. To get to Sync Points, sign in to Plaxo and to either your calendar or address book and look for the Sync Points at the bottom of your screen. Click the radio button and follow the instructions.
I really don’t hear about a whole lot of people signing up for Plaxo accounts anymore and I rarely get invitations. It seems that people with an account keep them open, but really don’t do a lot with them. With Ping.fm and other aggregators around, it’s easy to keep Plaxo in our circle of social networking.
Google Apps is $50/year and seems to be a better deal of the two paid services as Google is always coming out with new things, most of which are free.
What do you use to keep your contacts and appointments organized? Please leave a comment.