If you use Microsoft Outlook as well as Gmail or Google Calendar, you are no stranger to pain. Outlook doesn't talk to Google, and Google doesn't talk to Outlook...so you have two sets of contacts, two different calendars, two sets of to-dos, and more. There's no simple way to synchronize them. That's bad enough, but if you also use an Android phone, there's no way to synchronize your contacts between your phone and Outlook. CompanionLink for Outlook ($40, 14-day free tria) solves both problems handily.
Formerly CompanionLink for Google, this desktop app synchronizes your contacts, calendars, to-dos, and more between Outlook and Google, and does it with ease. Give it your Google log-in information, tell it how you want synchronization performed (both ways or just one-way in either direction), and let CompanionLink for Outlook do its work. The first time it synchronizes it may take ten minutes or more if you have a lot of contacts, but after that, synchronization happens much more quickly.
The newest version of the CompanionLink for Outlook software, 4.0, offers considerable improvements over the previous version. Most important is that the interface has been completely rewritten, and it's easier than ever to create and customize syncing, to schedule syncing, and to gain access to advanced settings such as map fields between Outlook and Google data. In addition to being easier to use, the interface is far more pleasing as well.
Synchronizing is faster in CompanionLink for Outlook than it was in CompanionLink for Google, and it now supports Outlook 2010. New data fields have also been added, so that you can more easily de-duplicate records.
CompanionLink for Windows is a boon not just for those who use Outlook and Google data, but for owners of Android Phones as well. Out of the box, there's no way to directly sync Outlook data with data on an Android phone. CompanionLink solves the problem by serving as an intermediary. First use CompanionLink to sync data between Outlook and Google. Then sync Android to Google as you do normally. In that way, your Outlook information is sent to your Android phone--and data from your Android phone ends up in Google as well because information synched back to Google from Android can then be synched to Outlook. It's not the most elegant of solutions, but it works, and it's better than being frozen out of syncing Outlook to an Android phone at all.
CompanionLink for Outlook lets you choose your syncing method, and gives you a great deal of control within those synchs. You can schedule synchronization, or instead tell it to synchronize each time, for example. And you can set up separate syncing profiles as well. You can filter out categories, choose a date range for calendar synchronization, determine whether to alphabetize contacts by first or last name, and much more.
Anyone who has been frustrated by Gmail and Google Calendar's inability to synchronize with Outlook will want to take a look at CompanionLink for Outlook. If previous versions appeared daunting, version 4.0's improved interface and ease of use will be a welcome sight.