Friday, March 7, 2008

Google Calendar Sync - Is this an alpha release?

In case you missed it, Google released a new syncing tool for Google Calendar dubbed "Google Calendar Sync". You can read about it and download it here:

If you are like me, you probably jumped on this like a news reporter on Britney Spears... but then it was like waking up on Christmas morning only to not get anything you asked for.

What happened?

I think we are starting to see the flaw in Google land and the freedom the developers have there. In most organizations, when a new product is developed it usually includes detailed discussion, requirements, development and testing. And today, a lot of developers create Unit Tests for their own code before even writing it or at least before giving the code over to their QA Department. But in the case of Google, it appears they give their developers too much freedom some times.

Google Calendar Sync is one of those programs that had greatness written all over it but for some reason none of the obvious features were built in.

Google Calendar users have been clamoring to get their hands on some sort of software that would synchronize their Google Calendar with Outlook for a long time now and there have been a few different apps popup but each have their own flaws and usually want you to pay for something that doesn't fully deliver. Getting something from Google to handle this task would be optimal.

The problem here is in the implementation. By default, Google Calendar Sync only works with your "primary" Google Calendar. Of course, if you are like me (or most people on the planet), you probably have several Calendars of your own, along with others shared from others that you want to keep up with.

In the blog post related to this release the author states that you can keep all your Calendars synced and up to date but that is indeed not true.

For those of you like myself that have been using Google Apps since the beginning you are used to "beta" software (heck everything from Google is "beta") but even Google's "beta" software is usually better than "release" apps from some companies. Google Calendar Sync almost seems to be an "alpha" or "proof of concept" release.

As you can see by the posts at Google Groups, people aren't too happy with this release:

Multiple Google Calendars and Google Calendar Sync

I'm not trying to slam Google here. I love Google and utilize many of their services (apps) but I really think this was a bad release. Before releasing something as anticipated as Google Calendar Sync, it should have at least gone around the office for employees to try it out. I'm sure the flaws would have popped up rapidly then and could have been managed before releasing to the wild.

I hope Google will update this application soon... as for now, I can't recommend it.

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