We’ve been over the ridiculous effects of the conflict between Google and Microsoft when it comes to app syncing. Personally I’m inclined to side against Google lately, especially given their move away from CalDAV, but there is plenty of fault to go around. Microsoft’s decision to disable Calendar syncing for even paying Google customers, for example, doesn’t sit well at all. As a user, though, there are a few ways to get around the inconveniences that all of these changes create.
Use Outlook.com for now
For the time being we’re going to have to recommend using Outlook.com’s calendar functions rather than the Windows 8 Calendar app. The interface refresh on the web service was very well done and the features are slightly more effective than the app has managed so far. This may change in a few weeks, but for now the website is the way to go.
Remember that you can pin websites to your Start Screen. It helps in situations like this. The Calendar app can then be used for nothing but Live Tile updates and reminders.
Move your Google Calendar over manually
Microsoft presented this somewhat tedious solution to the problem in response to the upset with their locking out all EAS access to Google services. You can download your entire calendar into an ICS file and import to Outlook.com.
- From Google, open the context menu for the calendar you want to export
- Select “Calendar Settings”
- Under “Private Address”, click “ICAL” and download the file you are presented with
- Open Outlook.com
- Click “Subscribe”, then “Import from an ICS file”
- Repeat as needed for multiple calendars
It’s a bit tedious, but this allows you to completely transition to Microsoft’s services. Not the best choice for some people, but they are less likely to cut off people they serve.
Subscribe to Google Calendar
This solution only works for reading calendar events. It will not allow you to modify anything from the side of Microsoft software. If a read-only solution works for your Windows 8 device, though, then it might be the way to go.
Warning: There are reports of updates taking far too long through this method. YMMV.
- Find the same link mentioned above in Google Calendar
- Instead of downloading the file, copy the full URL
- Open Outlook.com
- Click “Subscribe” and paste the full URL into the appropriate location
- Click “Subscribe to Calendar”
None of this addresses the real problem. Right now there is no good way to make Microsoft and Google services play nice together. Even if there were some hope for the Windows 8 Calendar app to gain CalDAV support, that would stop doing any good in September. It’s going to be interesting seeing how things go over the next few months.
Even though we’re being forced to choose sides, there isn’t really a good reason to choose one over the other. Google offers a few unique features like the ability to let other people edit a calendar, but other than that they have become the same service. Stick with what you use more, whether it’s the app suite from Google or the Windows 8-themed alternative. Eventually there will be more to distinguish them both.