I’ve recently migrated both mine and Sylvia’s Calendars from Outlook to the free online Google Calendar. Google Calendar is now mine and Sylvia’s primary calendar and appointment tracking system for both personal and business needs. We’ve dumped Outlook Calendar. This would have occurred much sooner had it not been for lack of a good tool to allow two-way syncing between Google Calendar and our Palm Treo 650 phones. I have now found such a tool in the goosync syncing software that allows the 2-way sync of palm devices with Google Calendar. Goosync works with a long list of non-Palm phones as well. I’ve now been using it for a few weeks and it has worked flawlessly without a single hiccup or problem of any kind. I can’t say the same about my old setup with Outlook and the USB sync cable, which usually worked but not always.
Why do I love Google Calendar?
It’s the smartest, most versatile and user friendly calendar I’ve personally ever used, either for individuals or teams. And now that I’ve figured out (or should I say, found the people who figured out) how to sync Google Calendar with mine and Sylvia’s Palm Treo 650 phones, there is nothing that even comes close to being such a valuable calendar tool. Every aspect of the Google Calendar, from entering new events, to changing days and times for events, inviting participants to events, to the reminder and notification options, are simple and easy to use and manage.
How is Syncing Google Calendar to the Treo Useful?
For example, the other day I was showing a house. The people wanted to arrange to come back for another look 2 days later with their parents. While standing there with them, I entered the new appointment time into my Treo and then synced it with the push of two buttons, over the air, with Google Calendar. No wires or computer needed. (but you do have to have data/internet service with your wireless provider).
When I got back to my office, sure enough, the new appointment was on my Google Calendar. Once the appointment is in my Google Calendar, it can be viewed by Sylvia from her Google Calendar (and I can see her calendar and appointments as well). This sharing aspect of the Google Calendar is what makes it so valuable for people like me and Sylvia, who work together as Realtor partners. The fact that it’s not tied to a particular desktop computer but instead can be accessed from any web browser is also something I find very valuable. The sharing functionality is especially useful though. This helps us stay organized and aware of each other’s schedules in a way that cannot be easily accomplished with the MS Outlook Calendar.
And the sync is two-way. Calendar items can also be placed on the Treo from the Google Calendar. For example, from her calendar, Sylvia can set an appointment for me on my calendar (because we both have sharing rights for each other’s calendars). She can call me and say “Bob just called and he does want to meet at the house tomorrow at 4:30. I just entered the appointment onto your calendar.”
Now I can sync with goosync and the new appointment is there on my Treo instantly. So I now have that appointment on my phone as well as my calendar. The minor downside, which I don’t consider a downside personally, is that the sync is not automatic. I have to press the goosync menu item on my treo, and then press the sync button. No biggie for me, especially compared to having to remember to connect to the USB sync cord plugged into my computer when I was using Outlook, then hit the sync button. Now I can sync anywhere, any time.
Multiple Shared Calendars
We’ve also set up a shared Google Calendar called “Crossland Team” which will track all of our closing dates, option period dates, follow-up dates for past clients, client birthday reminders, and anything else date specific and related specifically to our real estate business, but not necessarily to either of us individually. These are more of what I’d call “desktop” business matters for which a specific appointment time is not needed, but reminders are required.
With your Google Calendar, you can create multiple calendars for various specific purposes, or realms of your life. You can choose to share or not share each calendar or event. The free version of goosync does not allow syncing of shared calendars, only your primary calendar. If you’re a solo user, you may not need anything more than the free version. If you’re part of a team or group and need sharing abilities, or if you’re a solo user with multiple calendars, you’ll need the paid version which is currently 19.95/yr in UK currency, or about $40 per year in U.S. dollars. Well worth it for someone like me who has a calendar intensive life.