Improving synchronization of Outlook with ... everything else

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Starbuck

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Outlook version
Outlook 2010 32 bit
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POP3
Look for a way to sync Outlook with Google docs, devices, or other services you'll undoubtedly find some utility or service claiming to do the job. Anyone who has tried one of these will find immediately that some things simply don't work properly. Let's assume that we're not missing or duplicated data. A basic issue is that the set of details (the schema) is different from one product to the next. A data field with a specific purpose in one platform may not find an equivalent somewhere else. So the data gets merged into some freeform note field in another product, and on return your well structured data is now a freeform note (plus you now have old data in the original field).
Recovery from sync issues like this is a time consuming effort when we just want these blasted tools to "save time" which supposedly is the goal of all of this technology. It's for these reasons that I simply never use sync tools - and I pay the price when I eventually manually sync and have to work out the disparities on my own anyway.

So what are some best practices or acceptable solutions where data flows properly between products with the least amount of pain? Is it unreasonable not to trust software that does this?

For my purposes:

- I have an Android so I want to sync Contacts and the Calendar.

- I wouldn't mind doing a sync with Google Docs from there, and then to Outlook 2010 from there. At least then I can see the Docs data to see if anything got messed up before I pull that data back into Outlook.

- I'd love to use Android Sync Manager or similar to direct sync from Outlook to phone, but other SaaS apps (web sites that provide various services) tend to use Google data as a source, so getting the data there correct is probably a reasonable goal.

As a developer, I'm prepared to write my own solutions if there is nothing really compelling out there. But I'm sure people need similar security for iPhone, BlackBerry, and other devices, so I'm opening this up for a broader discussion.

Am I missing something obvious in all of this?

Thanks!
 
sync in outlook sucks. It's actually pretty good if you use exchange server and exchange active sync but trying to sync with 3rd party tools is generally bad. Even the google calendar sync is not so hot - although the sync tool used by the paid google accounts seems to work ok.. which means, for best results you need to pay $50-70+ a year for either google or office 365 or other hosted exchange.
 
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