A few days ago, I highlighted my experience with NuevaSync, a free beta service that shoots your Google Calendar and Contacts to a handset over-the-air. As I mentioned prior, I have two Google (s GOOG) accounts: a hosted Google Apps acouunt for GigaOM and one for personal needs. Although I’m happy to have any Calendar data sent to my iPhone for free without wires, I was bummed that I couldn’t get both my work and personal calendar events. NuevaSync only works with one Google account.
That’s just silly, I thought over the weekend. After all, I’m sharing calendars from both accounts with James, my family and my peers at work. That’s when I had my “A-ha!” moment. Why not share the two calendar accounts with each other? Essentially: I’ll simply share the calendar with myself. That sounded like an endless loop at first, but after thinking about it, I decided to dig a little deeper.
It turned out to the solution I was looking for, although it won’t be perfect for everyone. I went into my Google Calendar settings for my personal Gmail account and shared that calendar with my GigaOM Google account. Note that I allowed access for my GigaOM account to make changes to my personal calendar:
I configured sharing on my GigaOM calendar the exact same way; by providing my personal account full access to make changes on my work calendar:
So what’s the end result? Exactly what I was hoping for on my iPhone as shown to the right. The first three calendars are from my GigaOM Google account, while the Personal calendar is from my personal Gmail account. I’m still using NuevaSync to synchronize my GigaOM calendars with my handset, but that Google account can now see and edit my personal calendar as well. I did have to tell NuevaSync about the new calendar, but that took all of three seconds. The downside to this? Since my personal calendar events are appearing on my work calendar, anyone I provide access to at work will see my personal appointments. I’m generally OK with that but I realize that some folks won’t be. Marking the personal events as Private won’t help using this method either, unfortunately.
That’s a small price I’m willing to pay until there’s a better solution available. As it stands now, this set-up provides me more than enough benefit to use it. Since the sharing method is a two-way share, I can put an appointment on my GigaOM work calendar and my family will see that this time is blocked on my shared personal calendar. Likewise, a family event on my personal calendar shows up on my work calendar so my peers know I’m not available. And all of my events are flowing down to my handset over the web so I can keep it all straight.