In honor of Google's Outlook synchronization I've been synchronizing my personal Outlook/Palm calendar to my calendar on our family site. (Corporate Outlook sync to Google Calendar is, regrettably, an unfair bending of corporate rules.)
So far, not too bad. I've done multiple personal Outlook/gCal syncs and one Palm/Outlook sync without duplicate events. So far.
Unfortunately, I have multiple Google identities. So I need to be able share a calendar between my primary (older) Gmail identity, which binds all my personal email and my primary blogs, and my family domain identity.
That's where I'm running into design limitations and bugs with Google Calendar and Google Apps Calendars. At the moment they include:
- A Google Calendar has both a "Private Address" and a "Calendar Address". The Private Address enables sharing with a single individual. A Google Apps Calendar has a "Google App Domain Address" and a "Calendar Address". It's likely that Google re-purposed the "Private Address" function to enable "Domain sharing", but that means you can't privately share a Google Apps Calendar outside of a Google App domain.
- There's an bug in Google Apps Calendar. Under certain operations it gets stuck in a mode where it will only share busy/free information -- even if you enable public sharing at both the domain and calendar level.
So I can't meet my primary goal -- of keeping my sync'd Family Domain Calendar private while enabling read-write access to it from my personal Gmail account (outside the family domain).
Even the private address functionality of the standard Gmail Calendar has a pretty limited set of functionality:
Note: the private address was designed for your use only, so be sure not to share this address with others. If you want to let others view your calendar, we recommend that you share your calendar's public address (or "Calendar Address") with them. If you accidentally share your calendar's private address, click on the "Reset Private URLs" link to regenerate your calendar's private address.
Google does have certain cultural limitations -- there's such an institutional bias to openness that they can't seem to get their heads around access controls.
I may experiment with flipping things around. Maybe I can sync my personal Outlook account to my Google Standard Calendar, and then share that Calendar within the family domain.3/15/2008: I tried again today and from my Google Apps account I can now share the calendar with full privileges to my Gmail identity. From my Gmail identity I can now edit the calendar. Is someone from Google reading this blog?! (I presume the fix is coincidental, but ...)
4/24/2009: I've just run into the same od bug again. My Google Apps account was set to allow sharing only in the domain. I created a calendar in my owner/admin account. I then changed sharing to allow non-domain shares. I couldn't then make the calendar accessible. I tried various tricks as described in comments such as trying to make the calendar universally editable, etc. After a half hour or so of playing around I found I could create another calendar in the same account and that one was shareable. I then returned to the primary calendar and ... that one was shareable too.
I don't know if anything I did made a difference. Maybe it just takes an hour or so for sharing changes to really take effect. Clearly Google hasn't fixed this problem in the past year.