Monday, January 12, 2009

Use NuevaSync to Sync Iphone, Gmail and Gcal

If you use Google contacts or Calendar, check out Exchange Spoofing through services such NuevaSync. For me it made my Iphone that much easier and useful.

A few months ago I switched to Google's Gmail as my primary email client. I have been very happy with the outcome. Using Gmail I have been able to centralise my management of emails, contacts and calendars (the latter using Google's gCal). Prior to Gmail I handled my personal emails using Windows Live.

Soon after switching to GMail I switched from a regular Windows Mobile PDA (a HTC Touch) to an IPhone 3G- and have not looked back. Part of the my satisfaction with both has been how seamlessly I can work with emails, contacts and calendar appointments from home, work, iPhone or any internet connected terminal.

Synchronising Calendar events from gCal to the Iphone was initially a challange. Apple has not provided access to the native Calendar application via the API, and out of the box the Calendar will not sync with anything apart from Exchange and MobileMe services. The lack of API support makes (for the moment) 3rd party applications useless in this regard, since they can not trigger alarms and 'wake' the Iphone.

Luckily I found the Nuevasync service.

UPDATE 29-May-2009: Google now offers this service directly

Despite an unusual web-site the Nuevasync service works flawlessly and reliably to spoof an Exchange server serving your Calendar details from gCal. In this way Nuevasync provides 2 way synchronisation which works surprisingly effectively. Of course the service polls Gcal as required, so Calendar items are not exactly pushed from the Gcal to your Iphone - expect to wait a couple of minutes. This completely satisfies me - now I can use the native Calendar application on my Iphone to great effect.

When I plan an event on the go I can easily enter it into my Iphone and view it later on the Gcal site. Similarly, if I am at my desk I can use the google web application directly and trust it will nearly instantly make its way to my iphone. Because Neuvasync simply does its job - without spam, or ads or even cost (and I would pay something for this service) you can very quickly forget it is even there. And you never need to think about Syncing your Calendar again.

Neuvasync solved my Calendar problem very well but I found I was still struggling with Contact information. I would mostly add contact information at work, away from the my Itunes installation ay home which was set up to synch my Google contacts. I would need to wait until my next iphone dock before my contacts made it to my phone or vice versa. Worse, I had some problems with the quality of the synchronisation provided in Itunes, frequently losing the odd Contact and experience duplicates.

Then I remembered NuevaSync also handled contacts. Again, my experience has been excellent. As soon as update contact details either in Gmail or on my Iphone, the other was updated within minutes. The removal of this pain point was very noticable - now I only Itunes-dock my iphone to change the music library (and back-up the Iphone, flash new Iphone firmware, etc).

If you use Google contacts or Calendar, check out Exchange Spoofing through services such NuevaSync. For me it made my Iphone that much easier and useful.

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