I enjoy Google's Gmail and companion products very much but I don't want to spend my entire day in the web browser simply due to the fact that I use Outlook to organize my work day. Gmail in contrast does one thing and one thing only: E-mail. It does this well and I absolutely adores that no nonsense interface the Google engineers have come up with.
I am already getting very good mileage out of Gmail which I use as both backup for my e-mail and webmail. In essence Gmail is my Exchange for free.
What is missing from my free Exchange you ask? Well my calendar of course. Until recently I used Plaxo for synchronizing my various Outlook calendars. With the release of Outlook 2007 I have found Plaxo useless becuase it does not support this particular version of Outlook yet. Bummer.
Google Calendar and CompainionLink for Google Calendar (boy is that a mouthful) to the rescue. Google Calendar in itself is a very cool tool but as with my e-mail I rely heavily on Outlook to get my work done so living in the browser is not on option. CompanionLink for Google Calendar, you guessed it, is a tool for synchronizing Outlook with Google Calendar. It does a two way sync which means that I not only have the Plaxo functionality back additionally I have a web calendar it my disposal.
CompanionLink for Google Calendar syncs other PIMs as well:
Blackberry/RIM, GroupWise, Lotus Notes, Palm Desktop, Palm Hotsync, and a couple of handheld devices.
Having found this product of course I wanted it to run automagically because having to run a tool manually is kind of ghetto and it would last for about 10 minutes before I would get tired of it. So I raced off to the Task Scheduler of Windows Vista to set it up. Only problem was that the thing would pop up during each sync to report status and it would finish off with another popup to let me know that everything went fine. Now imagine that happening every 10 minutes as I initially set it up to do.
Luckily it turns out that you can add a switch to the arguments of the tool to make it run silently. The magic and obviously very secret switch is .... wait for it ... -silent. Who knew?
My calendar is now handily synced with Google Calendar and shared with my wife online so she can know my every move minute by minute :D
CompanionLink for Google Calendar is $29.95 and well worth it even if you only need to sync with Google Calendar. Additionally you get the opportunity to sync multiply Outlook calendars if you desire to so. I know I do.
CompainonLink for Google Calendar