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October 03, 2010

Droid, Gmail, gSyncit, iPhone, Outlook, Mary and Me

Google is making itself more central to our lives. Neither Mary nor I use Gmail itself for much except spam-protecting email addresses; but, because it's useful, Google is becoming the nexus for syncing our various devices and even each other. Droid has been key in increasing my Google-dependence; Mary retains some independence as an iPhone user.

Google supplies a free program for syncing an Outlook calendar with Gmail; installed that the first day I had my Droid; but it only does calendars. You can export your Outlook contacts to a comma-delimited file, import them into Gmail contacts, and have Gmail sync with your droid; but that gets old fast. You have to go through the whole tedious process each time you change contact info in Outlook; and, worse, any change you make to contacts on the droid is lost.

gSyncit to the rescue. The utility is available for download from daveswebsite.com; registration (required for any serious use) is $14.99 for a one machine license. gSyncit is an Outlook addin which can sync calendars, contacts, tasks, and notes (via Google docs) between Outlook and Google. The droid, of course, is happy to synchronize with Google.

Google's calendar sync programs comes with a de-install so I ran that, then downloaded, installed, and registered gSyncit. Install adds a gSyncit toolbar to Outlook; claims to run with all versions of Outlook from 2002 through 2010 including both 32 and 64 bit and work correctly on Windows XP, Vista 32/64, and Windows 7 32/64. I'm running Outlook 2007 on 32 bit Vista and have had no problems so far.

You do your setup through the Outlook toolbar. Some of the options are how often it syncs, what it does with dupes, and whether or not to prompt you before deleting an item. Syncing with the previous version of contacts I'd uploaded to Gmail resulted in finding a few dupes but the program was always right that they should be deleted; they've just accumulated through time in my Outlook contacts. You can also control how far into the past and into the future you want your calendar to sync. Various filtering options are available but I didn't play with them.

A very cool feature is support for multiple calendars. You can link any Outlook calendar folder to any Google calendar you can access. Mary and I have exchanged permission (read only, of course) for our Google calendars. Now I can see her Google calendar which is her Outlook calendar as a separate calendar in my Outlook client. Nirvana. Haven't figured out how to or even whether we want to extend this to the calendars we see on our phones. In a pinch, we could look at the Google calendars in the phones' browsers.

We could sync tasks but not sure I want it to be that easy for Mary to give me job lists.

Mary uses iTunes (not my favorite program) to sync her calendar and contacts with her phone, so she's not going through Google for that.

Couple of lessons:

  1. Note the battle between Google and Apple.
  2. Note how important phone platforms are in that battle.
  3. Note Google being smart about supporting 3d party software not only on the droid but also the desktop (gSyncit) even when it replaces Google software. The user gets more functionality and that's what counts.
  4. Note that we still need our Outlook clients which operate well offline – although we're online more and more.


Related posts:

Navigating on My Droid

Swyping from my Droid – The Supplement

This post was swyped on my droid

Droid Setup – Day 1 of My Re-Retirement

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