Google Calendar Sync for Microsoft Outlook

One of the advantages of Cloud Computing (that’s what they call it when your stuff is stored on the internet, instead of, or in addition to, just your computer), is being able to have access to your data from another computer. It can also be very useful for a business that wants to use a calendar for its customers to schedule appointment 24 hours a day, or check your availability against their own before getting in touch.

Google Calendar is jut one example of such cloud computing. Trick is, what happens if you are blending your existing systems with such cloud systems, as in the case of using Microsoft Outlook AND Google Calendar at the same time.

Google’s Answer is an application called Google Calendar Sync for Microsoft Outlook.

Google Calendar Sync – Initial Impressions

My initial impression of the Google Calendar Sync for Microsoft Outlook is, surprisingly, only about average, but sufficient. Bear in mind that this was tested on an installation of Microsoft Outlook 2010 with Business Contact Manager enabled and installed on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit.

Installation of Google Calendar Sync

First impressions do count, and installation is the first impression, so I was disappointed in some of the installation instructions (I generally find Google documentation to be complete and well thought out).

Google Calendar Sync Installation Please Close Microsoft Outlook

  • First, the installation instructions do not say anything about closing Microsoft Outlook. The installation routine, however, does.
  • Now, I don’t know what the cause and effect were, but when I reached this point of the installation and tried to Exit Outlook, the Outlook service continued to run and I had to manually “End Process.”
  • Since I had canceled the installation of the plugin (and closed all other Microsoft applications, and applications linked to Outlook) in order to ensure that this wasn’t causing the problem, I restarted the installation.
  • Google Calendar Sync Installation completed fine and I selected the 2 Way Sync.
  • Next, I tried to open Outlook; which hung, again. I checked and two Outlook processes were running. Was this because the sync app had tried to open it as well? I don’t know. Either way, I now had to find a way of getting into Outlook.
    • I started by trying to stop the Google Calendar Sync by right clicking it in the system tray and choosing “Stop.” Repeated requests to stop it failed.
    • Ultimately, I resorted to forcing it to close by choosing the “GoogleCalendarSync.exe *32” in Task Manager and clicking “End Process.”
    • Since Outlook still didn’t open, I found the Outlook Process and for this chose “End Process,” too.
    • This caused the second instance of Microsoft Outlook to try to open immediately, which generated an error that another Outlook process was already open.
    • Fortunately, both processes closed immediately and I was able to open Outlook immediately thereafter.
  • Without the Google Calendar Sync running automatically, Outlook opened promptly and I then manually ran the Calendar Sync, this time choosing the option for 1 way: Google Calendar to Microsoft Outlook calendar. This appeared to work, but since I already had all the test appointments on my calendar I created a new one and ran the sync again. This appointment showed up just fine on my calendar.

The problem, for me, which would be shared by any business environment, is that I don’t want all of my personal appointments to sync as well. Having not found any options to select a secondary calendar, I went back and reviewed the Introduction, which is when I found this :

Syncing events on secondary calendars

Google Calendar Sync will only sync events from your primary Google Calendar and your default Microsoft Outlook calendar at this time. If you’ve scheduled events on a secondary calendar in Google Calendar that you’d like to sync with your Microsoft Outlook Calendar, you can either move the event to your primary calendar or export your entire secondary calendar and import the events to your primary calendar.

Since this clearly isn’t the best option for me, at least right now, I’ll just uninstall and keep looking for a solution that allows me to update both directions. I still like the functionality – it is simple, straight forward, and does exactly what it says it does. So, I will soon return to Google Calendar Sync and repeat these steps with another profile to see how it works with a bidirectional synchronization.

Uninstalling Google Calendar Sync

Kudos to Google, for great linking in their documentation.

Google Calendar Sync Uninstallation Please Close Microsoft OutlookAgain, however, there is no mention (or surprise) of needing to close Microsoft Outlook before uninstalling the sync app. It does, however, come up with this nice big bright message reading “Please Close Microsoft Outlook before continuing.”

I did, then continued, and all went well from thereon. I even checked Task Manager and confirmed that Outlook was not running. I clicked to Open Microsoft Outlook 2010 and it did so without hesitation. Right back to normal, with the additional Calendar Item that was added during testing.

Google Calendar Sync Uninstall Completed