Gmail, Exchange, Outlook, oh my! Please help sort this through.
January 29, 2009 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Gmail, Outlook, and Sync oh my! How do I sort through this?

Last week, I left my job. I got to keep my smartphone (Samsung on Verizon Wireless running Windows Mobile 6). At my job, I had used the phone to sync with our Exchange Server for WORK, and logged into Gmail using the Web browser for PERSONAL.

Unfortunately, I was not able to save and backup my contacts and calendar before leaving. So all that's gone. Trust me, it's a bummer.

So I'm trying to re-create my setup and achieve productivity nirvana (or nerdvana). Here are the goals I'm trying to accomplish:

-- I would like to keep my Gmail account since I've used it for years and everyone knows me on it.

-- I want to remain flexible enough so that I can still sync to future employer's Exchange Server.


Here is how it all breaks down:

-- Phone: Using Gmail (via IMAP)
-- Desktop: Using Outlook 2007 (via IMAP). I detest Gmail's interface (please, no flames). It's dogslow, but it works. Molto bene!

-- Phone: ????
-- Desktop: Using Outlook 2007.
How do I get my Calendar on Outlook 2007 to sync with the phone? Should I use a third-party app like Oggsync or syncmycal?

-- Phone: ???
-- Desktop: Using Outlook 2007.
Same deal. How do I get them all in sync? Google has Contacts, but I hear they don't sync all that well.

-- Phone: ???
-- Desktop: Using Outlook 2007.
How do I get the Tasks on Outlook 2007 to sync with the phone? Should I use a third-party like Remember the Milk?

This seems like an awful lot of overkill.

So I just went and signed up for a domain and a Hosted Exchange account. My first thought was that I figured I could just use the hosted exchange account for Tasks, Contacts, and Calendar, and use Gmail for Email. I'm starting to get second thoughts, though. Who pays $8-10/month just for Tasks, Contacts, and Calendar? This seems overkill, too.

All I want to do is be able to keep my Gmail for email, but also use Outlook 2007 on my desktop. That's the key. I want to be able to continue to use Outlook 2007 for Tasks, Contacts, and Calendar.

If anyone could help out on this, I would be immensely grateful.

posted by zooropa to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
You can ActiveSync directly with Outlook on your PC rather than over the air with your Exchange server. It requires you to connect via USB or pair via Bluetooth periodically to do the synchin. Is this what you are looking for?
posted by rocketpup at 2:18 PM on January 29, 2009

I'd scratch the exchange server. Use gmail through the phone's native email client via IMAP. The actual gmail app for smartphones is so-so, but it's hidden under the java apps so it's not exactly convenient either.

Have you tried using the google mobile site for the calendar? I don't use it personally, but I'm sure you can access it. There's also a google sync program for your home pc to connect outlook to google calendar.

Windows Mobile can only active sync to one Exchange/Outlook instance at a time. So you can connect it to your new employer's server and still keep your IMAP gmail, then import/export your home outlook tasks/cal/contact to your new at-work account. That's about as seamless as you're gonna get.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 3:00 PM on January 29, 2009

I second ditching the Exchange server. I recently went through a similar situation. I had Exchange, but my company migrated to GAFYD. I use the Gmail web interface on the PC, I use IMAP to talk to Gmail from my WinMo phone, and I use Outlook 2007 on the PC for tasks and contacts. I use Google Calendar Sync to sync Gcal with Outlook, and I use Windows Mobile Device Center to sync tasks, contacts and calendar with my PC. And finally, I use Remember The Milk for tasks as well, and sync it with the phone using MilkSync - I don't actually use Outlook for tasks.

While it sounds like a lot of syncing, it's not really bad at all. Contacts are the weak point, but frankly I don't change them all that much so it's not a big deal, and I don't really use Google contacts for anything other than sending email.

When you do need to use your new employer's Exchange server, you might consider just using IMAP for mail anyway. I found that more useful than syncing mail with the PC. You might want to use Google Calendar Sync on your new work computer to send calendar events to your Gcal, then use it as described above to sync with your local Outlook client on your personal PC.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:47 PM on January 29, 2009

I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but there is a GCalendar Sync utility provided by Google itself, that lets you sync your GCalendar with outlook (this is full two-way sync, not one-way like you'd get with an iCal or RSS feed). For tasks and contacts, I think your best bet is using something blackberry-specific (I use Nokia's PC Sync and it's pretty seamless: it syncs everything with Outlook, which means, transitively, GCalendar as well).
posted by costas at 4:52 AM on January 30, 2009

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