Tuesday, 22 January 2013

How I Misuse Google Calendar Sync

Recently, I realised something about the way I've been using my calendar software and, specifically, the way I've kept using Google Calendar Sync (GCS) since a long time ago. When I had a standard Nokia mobile phone, I had to use something called Nokia PC Suite to manage it when I connected it to my computer. It allowed me to synchronise my calendar with Outlook, and I also used GCS to keep Outlook and Google Calendar in line with each other. Basically, I used Outlook as a halfway house to sync my phone to Google. It was a little ugly, but it worked pretty well. Because new events could come from anywhere, all sync actions were two-way.

When I updated to a Samsung smartphone, running Android, it started synchronising with Google Calendar directly over the air, but I still used GCS to get my work calendar on my phone. Because it's what I've always done, I set it to two-way sync.

But then I got to thinking: why should my personal calendar be synchronised to the office Outlook system? I don't need it there, and I don't need them to know any of that. Plus, with it there, if I have a personal appointment, there's not much I can do to hide it from colleagues who have calendar sharing set up. So I tried an experiment: I set the sync to just go one-way from Outlook to Google. I figured that eventually my personal events would drop off the radar and I'd get just my work events in Outlook and everything in Google. Unfortunately, that transition period is a bit more of a problem than it seems. If I edit an event on my phone, for instance, and it is in the Outlook calendar, too, then GCS will overwrite my changes with the original details. I can't change anything that appears on my Outlook calendar unless I do it there first.

So it seems like more trouble than it's worth. My options are either to delete all my personal events from Outlook and recreate them on Google, or turn two-way sync back on. For now, I'm taking the easy way out and using two-way sync. Maybe, when I move jobs, I can start on the right foot by using only one-way sync against their Outlook system.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Apparently GCS is being discontinued anyway.
PPS - That's another story.

No comments: