Google “Cloud” And OS X (Leopard) Integration

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After Apple branded MobileMe as a “cloud” of your personal information, some people have started to think of all services like that as “Clouds” of user data. The most prominent, in fact more so than MobileMe, is Google’s services to those who’ve signed up for Google Identities (Accounts). Here’s a fairly quick explanation of how this gCloud user data can be integrated onto your Mac and Apple Mobile Device (AMD). GMail To Mail.app: This is the longest standing Google Account integration to Mac OS X. Google has a nice set of directions (Tiger and Leopard) on how to set it up as either POP3 or IMAP. Once setup is complete, you may even find yourself forgetting that GMail is even what’s behind your email setup.

Google Calendar To iCal.app (as read/ write!): If you have Leopard installed, then this integration method should be handy to you. Literally just earlier today Google silently enabled CalDAV access to your Google Calendars (they have setup instructions in their Help Center). After following through with their instructions, your (selected) Google Calendars will be fully editable in iCal (but not the Calendar app on iPhone OS 2.x). Given how CalDAV support is set up in iCal (annoyingly), you’ll need to have a different CalDAV account set up for each Google Calendar you have synced. This subsequently means that you won’t be able to move an event from one calendar to another (in iCal…). Google has a list of many known issues with this new feature of Google Calendar, but with my limited testing time it looks to be quite solid anyways. This access to Google Calendar has definitely made me flip over and I know for-a-fact that after the FamilyFests that will end in about two weeks (they won’t begin for about half a week) I’ll migrate ALL my calendar data over to Google, then set up CalDAV access to interface with it in iCal (which is the calendering interface I’m most used to). This is regardless of the read-only access on my iPod Touch (I’ll just have one local calendar for events created on it, or use Google Calendar directly to add events), and the fact that to continue using the Calendar Store To-Do implementation (which I won’t for that much longer anyways due to the iPod sync-able Chores) I’ll need yet another local calendar. Using CalDAV will at least mean that I’ll never lose access to my calendar unless I don’t have my Mac and don’t have access to the internet. That is the biggest and most important reason for switching to this way of using iCal/ managing my calendar.

Google Docs To Spotlight.app: This final integration method uses a third-party PrefPane called Precipitate to import your Google Docs and Google Bookmarks into Spotlight for easy access.

Well, those are the three integration methods that I am/ will use more thoroughly to integrate my Google Account’s “cloud” to my MacBook’s user account. I hope that this could have been helpful to some of you. Enjoy, Alex.

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