Although this is a big step forward for Mac users who where looking for a free solution to their syncing problems, it still pays to use Spanning Sync. Why pay for something you can get for free? It all comes down to the fact that Spanning Sync still offers you more than Google does in terms of functionality. So although Google’s CalDAV is free, it doesn’t offer the same range of functions Spanning Sync does.
Reasons to use Spanning Sync
1. Event Reminders & Alarms
Perhaps one of the main reasons for using an electronic calendar is so you can receive event reminders and set up alarms. At this time, neither event reminders nor alarms sync when using CalDAV. Google says that:
Event reminders will only function according to the calendar settings of the application in which they were originally created.
This makes keeping track of how you set up your reminders more challenging than keeping track of the actual events. Having said this, Spanning Sync does not sync event reminders either at this time. Alarms and reminders were part of Spanning Sync at one point, but where removed because they proved to be confusing for the users. Now Spanning Sync is asking feedback so they can reinstate a more user-friendly reminder system in the future.
2. CalDAV Doesn’t Sync Address Book
Although perhaps not a strict necessity, it would be nice if Google’s CalDAV would also sync your Gmail address book with your Mac Address Book application. This is part of Spanning Sync’s core functionality, and definitely a bit perk for the application.
3. Two-way Sync is Unreliable
Although CalDAV is supposed to provide you with two-way syncing, a large number of users are actually not managing to achieve this. CalDAV is still being offered as a â€˜developers releaseâ€™, and it shows: many users report problems where they can sync from iCal to Google Calendar, but not visa versa. Some users donâ€™t manage to sync at all.
4. Easier Set-up
Spanning Sync takes the guess work out of the set-up procedure. While Googleâ€™s CalDAV is considered complex to configure, and nearly pointless if using multiple calendars in iCal. Spanning Sync is effortless to set up, and has great customer support as well. Clearly, Google does not offer any sort of customer support for its CalDAV application. This means that if you end up losing a yearâ€™s worth of appointments, donâ€™t go knocking on Googleâ€™s door.
5. iPhone Incompatibility
iPhone users will notice that after syncing their calendars with the Google CalDAV applications all events added on your iCal or Google Calendar will become â€˜read onlyâ€™ on the iPhone. Meaning, you can not edit the events directly on your iPhone! This is a major shortcoming in the program that severely limits the calendarâ€™s usability from the iPhone. Imagine having to use a computer every time you would like to edit or delete an appointment? At some point, youâ€™d need to write down the events that need editing to avoid forgetting them, which completely defeats the purpose of using your iPhone Calendar. In contrast, Spanning Sync can synchronize iCal with your Google Calendar and iPhone Calendar, and still keep all events editable in all applications.
6. CalDAV is not Internationally Inclined
Google CalDAV is not language-friendly. Although you can clearly use CalDAV wherever you live, if you write in a language such as Hebrew, Russian, or Japanese, you are out of luck: CalDAV will not support international character sets, so your calendar entries will be meaningless biggerish after syncing. If you do use a language with a different character set, Spanning Sync would actually allow you to still read your events after syncing.
To Sync or not to Sync?
At the end of the day, the issues described above leave me thinking that using Spanning Sync actually saves time, and ultimately time is money. Without question it is interesting that Google doesnâ€™t manage to bring out an application at least as good as Spanning Sync. After all, they themselves developed Google Calendar.
Do you have your own Spanning Sync review? Or have you tried your hand at CalDAV? Which issues did you find to be most problematic with CalDAV?
UPDATE: Save $5 on Spanning Sync with my discount code