My earliest mobile phone was a INR ~8K Nokia Series 40 feature phone - the beautiful, solid and functional-to-the-last-screw-and-pixel Nokia 6300. Within a year it was stolen and I bought yet another INR ~8K Nokia Series 40 feature phone - the delightfully compact and typically robust Nokia 5310 Music Express. Within the next 12 months, I had lost that one as well, and this time I bought a Blackberry - the Javelin 8900. It had a few challenges, but after a few initial hiccups, I settled down to comfortably use it for about 2 years. In April of this year I voluntarily "upgraded" to a Google Nexus S - for the pure Google and Android experience.
The problem was my mail, contacts, tasks, and pretty much my 'organized life' was in MS Outlook - for reasons beyond my control.
For nearly 4 years, and across three handsets, some of which were not even categorized as 'smart phones', I had come to expect software from phone vendors that would just sync with MS Outlook. Even by 2008 Nokia PC Sync was quite solid. Blackberry sync had some software issues, but the bi-directional sync worked for all
Having mentally prepared to shell out over $550 for the Google Koolaid, it did not even strike me to check on how well it does basic PIM sync routines. And as it turns out - it sucked rocks. It still does. I for one fail to understand how basic PIM utilities cannot be bundled into a phone in 2011! There is not even a standard notes or tasks program installed in the 'Pure Google Experience.' So much for progress. In the next version of Android do we have to download an app to get the caller's ID displayed automatically?
We are living in 2011. Basic PIM features should be free, pre-installed and freely sync to the popular messaging systems.
Google, I have no doubt, has great strategic reasons for doing whatever it is doing to screw retail users like me. But some of it is really hard to understand.
Google Calendar Sync is a nice little utility that silently does the job of synching outlook calendar entries to google calendar. It is closed source, but available at no charge to everyone - exactly like PC Sync or BB Sync in that regard. However what about the missing pieces - Contacts, Tasks, Notes?
Google Outlook Migration tool - is a one way migration tool from Outlook to Google. If your workplace uses Google Apps for Enterprise, and get the fully functional Outlook Sync tool for Contacts, Tasks and Notes as well. If you are on Exchange at work you are hosed. Tough luck. Can someone explain why Calendar gets preferential treatment? The whole situation is rotten and it sucks. Rocks. Horrible.
Oh, did I mention that the one way migration tool takes over 15 minutes to copy 1200 contacts?
And now we come to the main point of this post :-)
Fed up with the situation, I decided to do some programming myself. And it is finally ready to be released. This was my first program 'for windows', using MAPI. Every step was a struggle, but I am happy the output is actually usable.
Introducing - Gout - the Google <-> Outlook two way PIM sync, which does contacts for now.
Grab it at https://github.com/skarra/Gout/downloads or clone the git repository and hack away.
- Gout is free. As in speech and beer. All my code is in Python and GPLv3-ed
- Gout is fast. As in the first sync for 1200 contacts took under one minute
- Gout is non-intrusive. It will sync your outlook contacts to a special group (which should be configurable in a later release)
- Gout handles EX style addresses in your outlook addressbook. If you exported outlook contacts to a CSV file, for e.g. and went 'what the hell is that email address', you have encountered this problem. Gout seamlessly works around this problem
Take a look. Spread the word. Send your feedback.