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Summary:

Google and its ecosystem of small Mac and Windows developers continue to eat away at the justifications for Microsoft line of products; this week it’s calendar synchronization. Microsoft used to own this game: if you wanted to to be able to share calendars then your organization […]

Google and its ecosystem of small Mac and Windows developers continue to eat away at the justifications for Microsoft line of products; this week it’s calendar synchronization.

Microsoft used to own this game: if you wanted to to be able to share calendars then your organization needed Microsoft Exchange Server and a few IT people chained to their desks to support it. No more.

First Google came out with Google Calendars a few years back; then Google added Google Calendar Sync for Microsoft Outlook in March. Now, two Mac microISVs have released products that let Mac users sync up iCal with Google Calendar.

BusySync from BusyMac (longtime Mac users will remember the founders of BusyMac Dave Riggle and John Chaffee as the guys behind Now Up-to-Date back in the pre OS X days) lets you transparently update iCal from gCal or vice versa. And since Google users can privately share gCals, you can in effect create a shared group calendar without a non-Google server in the mix.

BusySync also can let the increasing number of Macs in office networks sync up, peer to peer.

Spanning Sync does much the same thing when it comes to gCal, again tapping gCal’s shared calendar function to create a virtual calendar server accessible from anywhere.

The biggest differences between the two products is their licensing: BusySync is licensed per computer while Spanning Sync is licensed per person. If you happen to have multiple Macs in your life, Spanning Sync will cost you less. On the other hand, if you want to sync people on your company’s LAN, definitely look into BusySync.

  1. There’s also gSync, which has worked the best for me personally so far. (no problems with duped events and recurring events, faster overall sync time.)

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  2. There’s also gSync from Macness as an alternative. gSync is a utility that allows you to simply synchronize Mac OSX iCal with Google Calendar.

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  3. I use Plaxo, which is free (there are paid versions, . It may be less trivial – you sync your iCal with Plaxo’s calendar and then Plaxo with gCal. But, the bottom line, it works. Plaxo also synchronizes your address book.

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  4. Zviki, last I heard, Plaxo’s sync to Google was so crippled I’m not sure how useful it is. Has the service improved? From their help page.

    Google Synchronization Limits
    Currently, the Google sync point is a one-way sync. It can only read data and changes to the data from Google to Plaxo. Any changes on the Plaxo side will not reflect back to your Google address book.

    In addition, we only support contact deletions and additions during the sync. Changes to existing contact records will not sync to your Plaxo account.

    For example:
    – if you add a new entry in Gmail, that new entry will sync and add the entry in Plaxo.
    – if you delete an entry in Gmail, that deletion will sync and remove the entry in Plaxo.
    – if you modify an existing entry in Gmail, that change will NOT sync to Plaxo.

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  5. The big difference, IMO, between Spanning Sync and BusyMac is Spanning Sync routes your data through their servers.

    A BusyMac sync is direct between your computer and Google Calendar.

    No big deal unless you are paranoid (like me) about routing your data through a 3rd party.

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  6. [...] also integrated with Google Calendar. Given the number of other tools that work with and sync with Google Calendar, this is likely to be the best path for web workers. If you need to let other [...]

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  7. @Judi,

    I don’t think I’ve tested Plaxo to that extent. I try not to “challenge” the sync software. I mainly update my contacts and appointments on my laptop and mobile phone, so I sync from my phone to my laptop and from my laptop to the web. The Apple AddressBook sync and iCal sync both work fine. I do use GCal and GMail directly on occasion (like this week, my MacBook Pro is down), in which case I have all my data synced with my main machine.

    Picking the right tool also depends on your personal usage scenario and requirements.

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  8. I really wish Google would allow iCal to publish/sync with their servers. Or come out with a Mac sync app. However, I’ve checked out BusySync and it’s fantastic and a good value.

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  9. [...] to roll out “synchronized everywhere,” we’d really like to get away from using third-party solutions to sync up our Mac desktops. The calendar also feels like the right home for the missing task [...]

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