Two weeks ago I came across this post on The Verge that talked about using CardDAV and CalDAV to sync Google information to iOS devices which, along with the new GMail app promised better synchronization and better battery life and a break from the current ActiveSync/Exchange method I had been using. I’ve been using multiple Google Calendars for personal and family items but my personal contacts were all in my Outlook account at work. I decided it was probably a good idea to clean all of that out and move it elsewhere.
I had already done this to my calendar some time ago, dumping it into Google Calendar, so I’m not sure why I still had my contacts in Outlook anyway. I exported everything from Outlook into separate vCards, combined them into a single vCard (via the DOS command: COPY *.vcf all-contacts.vcf) and then proceeded to clean up and re-group my new contacts inside GMail. Warning! I realized afterwards that the exported vCards from Outlook didn’t contain the Notes field or other non-standard fields like Spouse, Anniversary, Children, etc. I had to manually copy/paste that information from each Outlook contact to the corresponding new contact in Google.
I’m very happy with the CardDAV sync from my GMail contacts to my iOS devices! I love being able to have custom labels for almost every field which especially comes in handy when you have multiple “work” numbers for a contact. In Outlook you had no way of distinguishing them but in GMail I can just custom label each phone number and that data syncs to the iPhone contacts. Very slick. The only downside I’ve run into so far with having my contacts in GMail is that I can’t share them with others like you can share calendars.
This does also tie in with one of my upcoming new year’s resolutions, though. I’ve been an e-mail client user for a long time … dating back to Eudora in the early 90s (I used to buy the Pro versions) and more recently, Thunderbird. I’ve decided it’s finally time to stop using POP3/IMAP to download my GMail into a desktop-based client and just leave it in the cloud. gasp! The last time I made a big break like this was when I stopped using Microsoft Money and switched to Mint back in 2010. I figure if I can use the cloud to manage my finances, it should work just as well for something like e-mail, right? 😀
I also apparently made this switch just in time as last week Google announced it is dropping ActiveSync support altogether. At least I was a few days ahead of the curve on that one! Moving my contacts to the cloud means I’m now “all in” with Google when it comes to e-mail, calendar, and contacts. Next thing you know I’ll be buying an Android phone! 😮