Because using too many calendars can confuse rather than organize, Google has announced that its Google Calendar will play nice with Microsoft's Outlook Calendar. Earlier this week, Google announced Google Calendar Sync, a downloadable application that lets users synchronize events with Outlook Calendar. A user can determine information flow, as well as the frequency of the syncing.
The information flow can be two-way, with both calendars syncing to the other, or one way, with either calendar updating the other. Ten minutes is the minimum time for syncing. When events are sync hing, arrows appear in the Google Calendar icon.
The company said secondary calendars are not being supported, only the primary Google Calendar with the default Outlook Calendar.
'Annoying to Maintain'
On the Official Google Blog, product manager Shirin Oskooi wrote about using Calendar Sync. He said that, previously, he used Outlook on his desktop computer at home, but "since I wanted to be able to access my schedule from anywhere, I also kept a copy of it on Google Calendar." When traveling, he imported the Google Calendar data into his laptop's Outlook for offline access.
"This was not only annoying to maintain," he wrote, but also error-prone. Updates on any of his calendars required him to update all of them by hand.
Because of that chore, Oskooi said he "was probably the most excited person on the team when we started developing it." He noted that he can now enter an event into his laptop's Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar Sync updates it on his online Google Calendar as well as on his home desktop.
"All of my calendar views are always up to date," he said, "and I can choose whichever one I want to use." Google has noted that a user's calendar can be synced, whether it's accessed from a browser, a mobile device, or a desktop. Pop-up reminders in Google Calendar also work in Outlook.
Default Is 'Private'
So that calendar information is shared only as desired, the default privacy level is "private." This means events synced from Outlook will only be seen by the user, unless others are granted permission to see the details.
Merle Sandler, an analyst with industry research firm IDC, said Google Calendar Sync might be attractive to workers at smaller firms where Outlook is popular and the sync makes it easy to track events across devices without the support of an IT department.
But it also means that Outlook's unique position in a firm might be eroding, since the data is now equally accessible on Google. Google Calendar is part of the Google Apps suite, which includes Gmail for e-mail, Google Docs for spreadsheets and text documents, and Google Sites for team sharing. Google's hosted apps are increasingly competing with Microsoft, which has been adding online capabilities to its applications.