My Experiences with Google Calendar Part 2.


In Part One, I described my experiences with trying to sync Google Calendar with Microsoft Outlook and FranklinCovey PlanPlus.  I also discussed how this creates a security issue—as I’m forced to run three programs as an Administrator, and two of them are Internet-facing programs.

In this post, I’m going to lay out why they’re at fault, and touch on what each company should do to make life easier for their users.  So, here we go.

Microsoft is at fault because they designed Outlook to require Administrative privileges to perform some action on the calendar that Google Calendar wants.  They are also at fault because they are blocking access to their Live products from third-party applications.  Originally it was to prevent “spammers from creating millions of accounts”—but everyone saw through that to the real reason—money.  They are charging for the access to Live Calendar from e-mail clients.

Google is at fault for two reasons.  One is that they are trying to do something with the Calendar Sync that requires Administrative privileges—even though Vista and the “new way” have been out for almost four years now.  Before you say “Well they HAVE to do it that way”, my argument is this.  PlanPlus seamlessly works with the same Outlook API for the calendar—without administrative permissions.  So, why can’t Google Calendar Sync?  The second thing is this:  They stopped developing this application. It’s at 0.93—and has been for almost a year now.  The error that I had was first reported in March, 2009.

FranklinCovey is only at fault because they’ve moved from their desktop application to an Online format.  That’s not really a bad thing—just not something I’m up for.  The downside is that they don’t offer features like synching to your Google Calendar or other online calendars in the desktop application—and probably never will.

It’s almost time for a Perfect Storm.  Microsoft needs to wake up and realize that as more people realize that they can access Gmail and Google Calendars (along with other Google Apps and Docs) from ANY email client, they will stop paying for the ability to access their Live products from MICROSOFT’s email clients.  Truth is, the only reason I won’t drop my hotmail/msn emails is because the msn one is tied to my ISP, and the rest are secondary accounts.  So, I’m paying for it whether I use it or not.

So, here’s the end of my rant.  This is what I want to see (although it won’t happen). 

MICROSOFT—Open up the live.com products to third party clients again.  The idea that it was to prevent spammers is BULL.  It didn’t do anything to curb spam.  It didn’t do anything to curb porn.  It caused you to close your chat and groups—because the revenue increases that someone claimed you would get didn’t materialize.  People said “Screw off” instead, and moved to other sites.

GOOGLE—Open the source code for the Calendar Sync up.  If you’re not going to develop it on a timely schedule, then let someone else pick up the torch and run with it.  You have the potential to steal a lot of Microsoft’s thunder. But, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.  Why? Because you haven’t updated the Calendar Sync site since it was put up.  Your error message section is a joke.  You haven’t developed the application in about a year—and you haven’t fixed any bugs in it.

FRANKLINCOVEY—You’re not really doing anything wrong, but I would ask you to not stop developing the application.  Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket (PlanPlusOnline).  There are people who don’t want to pay a monthly fee for the service (or who can’t afford it).  I would actually encourage you to take a look at JetBrains and their Omea Pro application.  You could take a hint from them, and create the potential Outlook killer.  They incorporate limited (stress limited) time management with the ability to access your emails, feeds, documents, and even web pages.  All from one application.  YOU could do this too.  Except yours wouldn’t be a limited time-management program.  It would be a Time Management Program that integrates all aspects of productivity in one place.

Have a great day:)

Patrick.

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