Getting the better of Google Calendar and Entourage 2008


If you’ve visited here before, you’ll have seen my puny earthling attempts to get Entourage 2008 in sync with my Google calendar. While it’s not possible to sync the two directly, you can do it in a roundabout way by using iCal as a ‘proxy’ and some thrid party software. The first step is to go into your Entourage 2008 preferences and under General Preferences, choose Sync Services. Now it’s just a case of putting a tick in the box next to Synchronize events and tasks with iCal and .mac. Now whenever a calendar item gets added to iCal it will automatically be added to Entourage and vice versa.

Calgoo ConnectThe next step is to set up synchronization between iCal and Google calendar (gCal) and this is where I ran into problems before with entries being duplicated or deleted when I wasn’t expecting it. I was using Calgoo Connect v1.9.0 to link iCal to gCal and with Entourage in the mix as well it wasn’t a happy union. Fotunately the guys at Calgoo were on the case and when I sent them details of the problem I was experiencing they responded with a fix almost straight away.

I’m now trying out the new version v1.9.1 and so far it’s looking good. To give everything the best chance of working I actually purged my Google calendar, my iCal calendar and my Entourage calendar before ‘pushing’ my Outlook 2007 calendar back into gCal. At that point I knew gCal was correct and had no duplicates in it, so the next step was to load up the new version of Calgoo Connect and get it to sync with iCal – meanwhile I’d disabled the connection between iCal and Entourage just in case. Once Calgoo Connect had done it’s thing, iCal was once again in step with gCal, however there was a minor problem. A handful of ‘All Day’ events from gCal appeared in iCal both as ‘All Day’ events, and as a separate event with a time of noon for the same day. I had the ‘Perform connector cleanup’ option checked in Calgoo Connect to look for duplicates, so I was a little puzzled as to why this happened, and why only a small percentage of these ‘All Day’ events are affected. To add to the mystery, the duplicates don’t appear in gCal or in Entourage so I suspect the problem could lie with how iCal displays these events?

DuplicatesiCal lets you filter the view of your calendars and the ‘All Day’ events are showing up as I’d expect in iCal when the ‘Entourage’ calendar display is checked. However with the ‘Home’ calendar view checked also, these ‘All Day’ events appear again but with a time of 12 noon as you can see in the picture. (Note in this example my ‘Entourage’ calendar items are lilac and iCal ‘Home’ items are blue). Still, it’s a simple enough solution to simply uncheck the ‘Home’ calendar in iCal and only see the Entourage calendar, and if Entourage is where you’re planning to view and update your calendar, using iCal merely as a pass-through to Google, then it’s probably a good move anyway. With the connection between Entourage and iCal re-enabled (choosing the ‘combine’ option in Entourage first time through) my Entourage calendar is now showing exactly what Google calendar shows, and thus my Outlook and Lotus Notes calendars too!

I’ll continue to see how it goes as calendar sync’ing between five calendars effectively is no mean feat, but for now it’s looking a lot better. Many thanks also to Calgoo for coming up with a solution so quickly. Now I just need to figure out a way of stopping people at work from booking so much of my time!

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Robin ::

    Great post. I hope some of the people at Microsoft and Google are reading this.

    I can’t believe the hoops we (Mac users) have to jump through, duck, and hurdle to get our calendars to talk to Entourage. Calgoo — as smart as you make it sound — seems more like another patch over the problem than a direct line solution. (Sorry, Calgoo) I am not interested in having Entourage talk to iCal talk to gCal.

    With the release of this, http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=89955

    It seems like a direct sync tool for Entourage is at least possible. Apple has announced the “Me” service as “Exchange for the rest of us” but it’s not really group calendaring… I’m afraid they’ve oversold it. 😦

    Google, with gCal has set the stage for a true open source, platform independent calendaring tool. Hopefully the gaps will be filled in soon so Mac users can join the party.

    Maybe Calgoo should write the Entourage/gCal sync tool. That would be something to pay for!

  2. Great post!

    Maybe you can shed some light on a closely related issue. Is there any way via Calgoo (or anything else you’ve tried) to get your Entourage calendar to show up on your Google calendar? Your solution seems to Entourage to sync with iCal, and Gcal to sync with iCal, but I simply need my business calendar (Entourage) to show up on my Google Calendar. My dream (I dream small) is to add an event in Entourage Calendar while I’m at the office and be able to see that event in Gcal when I get online at home. I don’t even really care whether it works in reverse. That’s it. Is that too big of a dream?

    Keep up the good work!

  3. @Dyke H – Yes you can definitely sync Entourage with gCal in the way you want. What you need is Calgoo Connect.

    If you have a look at my blog for November 8th I’ve posted a little article that shows you how to achieve this. Good luck!

  4. An interesting post that I navigated to looking for a solution to this exact problem. I think the easiest thing to do is just use the google calendar interface directly. Alternatively, I think Premium Google accounts have full exchange capabilities…though I’m not sure.

  5. Brilliant, I searched Google for a solution to this exact problem and this works perfectly.

    Thanks mate

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