I’ve been an avid user of Google Calendar since its inception. It’s been a great tool for personal organization and helps my wife and I to keep track of social engagements, personal events, vacations, and errands. We both have access to each other’s calendars and can assign events to each other with ease.
Before I got my AT&T Tilt, I had a phone with no Internet data plan. Luckily, I was able to configure Google Calendar to send me an SMS message as a reminder for any events in my calendar. This has worked out great.
Now fast forward to 6 months ago when I started working for Telligent. Like many other companies, Telligent uses Exchange Server/Outlook for resource and employee scheduling. All of my work-related meeting requests, appointments, and tasks go through Outlook. Accessing this information outside the office requires an Internet connection so having an connected mobile phone is helpful to keep up on the road.
My Tilt allowed me to access my Outlook calendar wherever I was, but this created an issue of trying to keep my Outlook calendar at work and my personal calendar on Google synchronized. If I ever had a personal errand or appointment during a weekday saved in Google calendar it would not show up as blocked off in my Outlook calendar and a coworker could unknowingly invite me to a meeting in that slot not knowing that I was busy. So I did a lot of searching and initially found some very complex solutions to this problem. None of them worked consistently and often required me to install third party utilities from somewhat untrustworthy sources. Or they required me to spend money to get automatic calendar synchronization.
Being the stingy person that I am, I looked for a better, free solution and found it in Plaxo. Plaxo has been around for a while as a contacts synchronization service and has recently dabbled in the Social Networking space. But one of the key features that Plaxo offers is calendar synchronization between Google, Outlook and a number of other sources. In order to keep outlook/exchange synched up, you have to download a small plug-in for Outlook that you can get via the Sync Wizard on the Plaxo site.
Once you have everything installed and configured properly, all that is required is to leave Outlook running (as I typically do on my work machine) and it will periodically sync with Plaxo to keep things up to date.
I’ve been using Plaxo sync for the past few days and it works great. If you’ve been looking for a solid method for keeping Google Calendar and Outlook synchronized, this is definitely the way to go.