Corey Coogan

Python, .Net, C#, ASP.NET MVC, Architecture and Design

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Posts Tagged ‘Droid’

Synching Gmail Contact and Calendar with Yahoo and Outlook

Posted by coreycoogan on November 14, 2009


As a coworker of mine put it, I recently “stepped into the 21st century” by splurging on the Droid the day after its launch. I’ve been intrigued by the smart phone for some time and would have jumped all over the iPhone but the coverage from AT&T really sucks in my neck of the woods. When they started talking about the Droid on Verizon’s network, I got all giddy and couldn’t wait to get one. Not to mention how much fun it could be writing my own mobile apps. I guess it’s time to dust off my Java books and lube up my copy of Eclipse.

This post, however, is less about technical stuff and more about getting what you want where you want it, and that is calendar and contact synchronization. I’m not saying that this is the only way, or the best way, but I dug around for several hours and tried all sorts of free and demo software and this is what ended up working for me with the least amount of pain.

First, some back story on my situation. I’m an avid Yahoo Mail user and have been for about 10 years. I like Yahoo mail with all it’s Ajax goodness and sleek interface. GMail on the other hand, seems clunky. As a coworker of mine put it, “it looks like something that was designed by programmers”. I have a GMail account to use for all the wonders that Google offers, like analytics and other services. Being that the Droid is heavily integrated with Google, the calendar and contacts functionality on the phone depends on the Google Calendar and GMail Contacts. So now I was faced with the problem – how do I get my events, appointments, reminders and contacts from Yahoo to my phone?

NOTE: I’m running Office 2007 on Windows 7 64bit

How I am Synchronizing Yahoo! Contacts and Calendar with Outlook and GMail

  1. First I am doing 2 way synchronization between Yahoo and Outlook for contacts and calendar.  This is very simple using Yahoo’s AutoSync addon for Outlook/Outlook Express.  You can install the bits for this program by first going to Calendar and then clicking the “Sync” link in the top right.  You can also get more info from VersionTracker.  This addon isn’t 100% rock solid and sometimes won’t fire up, but not sure what the circumstances are.  I don’t think it’s officially supported in Windows 7, but it’s been working good enough for now.
  2. Now that I have all my Yahoo contacts and calendar entries in Outlook, it’s time to find something to synchronize Outlook to Gmail.  I went into this thinking this would be a simple task, but let’s just say there’s a lot of crap software out there both for free and for pay.  What I ended up using was the addon from Soocial.com, which a contact management service that helps keep your contacts organized.  They offer tools to sync several providers, but the Yahoo sync is only one-way, which is why I am using AutoSync to handle that.  Their GMail sync tool only works for contacts, which leads me to item 3.
  3. To keep my outlook calendar synchronized with the GMail calendar, I am using Google’s Calendar Sync Tool.  You may be as surprised as I was to find that Google offers a tool to sync the calendar but not contacts.  I think it has something to do with the Apps Synch product that requires an Enterprise license.
    Note: Google does offer a way to sync iTunes contacts with GMail, but that seemed like a whole other can of worms.

At first I had reservations about putting all my contacts on Soocial.com, but I couldn’t find anything sketchy about them in the public domain.  If you have any knowledge about this service, please share.

So what I’ve ended up with is this:

Yahoo -><- AutoSync –><- Outlook –><- Soocial.com -><- Gmail Contacts
GMail Calendar
-><- GMail Calendar Synch –><- Outlook

Now when I add a contact or calendar entry in Outlook or Yahoo, I will see it on my Droid.  Conversely, if I’m on the road and add something in my Droid (Gmail), I’ll see it in Yahoo and Outlook within 90 minutes (configurable).  It not as seamless and I’d like, but it works pretty good for now.  I’ll update the post if things start to get dicey or ifwhen something better comes along.  Based on the number posts and questions on the web regarding this topic, I’m sure this will help at least a couple people trying to mesh into this new fangled era of being constantly connected to the world from your powerful little handset.

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