I'm a pretty big user of Google Calendar, because I like how I can automatically sync it with my BlackBerry. The problem for me has been that on my desktop, I really prefer iCal's interface. Syncing the two can be cumbersome. We've written about third-party programs that can sync iCal and gCal together in the past, and although those are great -- I have still wanted a native way to sync the two calendars together.
Well, fortunately, Google has just quietly introduced CalDAV support to Google Calendar. CalDAV is the protocol that iCal uses to transmit data over the web. Although some other mail and calendar programs support CalDAV, right now Google Calendar is only compatible with iCal. Finally, iCal and Google Calendar can sync without having to use third party programs!
After following Google's detailed instructions, you can add your Google calendar account to iCal. Any changes you make in iCal will be transferred over to Google and appear in Google Calendar within about 15 minutes. Likewise, any changes made in gCal will be updated immediately from iCal. If you use a BlackBerry, which also syncs directly with gCal, those changes will be updated on all sides as well.
So does this mean that third-party syncing utilities have no place? Well, just based on my initial tests this morning, they are safe for at least a little while. Although sync support works perfectly, you have to create a new calendar account for each individual calendar you want to access. Additionally, if you have a calendar called "Home" on your Mac and a different calendar called "Home" in gCal, you can't just sync those two together. You'll need to either import all your iCal data into Google first, and then sync with the new calendar, or transfer the information over from one calendar to the other within iCal. Programs like BusySync and Spanning Sync allow syncing of designated calendars with one another.
Still, this is a huge step in the right direction and I'm just happy that I can import my mobile calendar onto my desktop without having to run a background utility. CalDAV support for Google Calendar requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard's version of iCal. The Google Calendar service is free.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
[via Google Operating System]