Arguably the 'web 2.0' application I'm most looking forward to is a decent online calendar… with synchronisation. Don't get me wrong, I love what Google have done, and 30boxes is very promising too. But until one of them cracks the Outlook problem, letting me sync my local calendar with their web one, it's little more than a theoretical exercise. I can't have a calendar that can't sync.
So I was a bit startled to discover that, actually, Yahoo cracked it years ago. It took some substantial detective work, but I came across a reference to a product called Intellisync – and eventually found details of it on Yahoo's site. And yes, it does what it promises.
Intellisync for Yahoo! synchronizes schedule information from your other personal information managers with Yahoo! Calendar, contact information with Yahoo! Address Book, tasks with Yahoo! To-Do List, and notes with Yahoo! Notepad. Please note that you can also use your Yahoo! Address Book and Calendar with Yahoo! Mail, a free web-based mail service, for a complete and free personal information management solution on the Web.
And it works. I've successfully put a new appointment into my PDA – a T-Mobile MDA Pro, running Windows Mobile 5; synchronised it with my desktop copy of Outlook 2002; and then synchronised that up to Yahoo's website.
Am I ready to switch over to Yahoo? Er, not quite. I still don't quite know what to make of Yahoo. They seemed to buy up all the right innovators, like Flickr and del.icio.us, but I haven't seen any benefits to me yet (despite being a more-than-occasional user of both). And whilst I hear great things about their new mail interface, I can't seem to convert my old-school Yahoo account over to it.
(Update: I found the workaround. The new interface is much prettier… but man, is the advertising intrusive! And as far as I can tell, it's still the same old calendar, despite the hot-stuff new mail app. Disappointing.)
So I'm sticking with Google for now. Gmail still delights and amazes me. Google's calendar works beautifully, up to a point. I'm gradually being won over by Picasa, their photo management app. And they're (hopefully?) close to letting me bring my own domain to my Gmail account – as opposed to a rather primitive masking arrangement like now. Plus, it's still my search engine of first instinct. They just keep getting it right.