OK, so I didn’t completely free myself from Googles’ grip. But I did manage to migrate at least 75%. I could meet a higher number if:
- I could find a replacement web calendar that supports Outlook 2010 synchronization (for a single work calendar)
- I was willing to let old forum posts that have linked pictures die with “image not found” for other readers.
So the bottom line is I am still using Google Calendar (for a single calendar), Google Talk (for a few friends instant messaging), Google Picasa (for old forum posts) and Google Voice (because it happens to be awesome and irreplaceable IMHO).
Here is an overview of where I moved everything:
- Google Mail -> Apple Mail (iCloud)
- Google Calendar -> Apple iCal (iCloud), except for 1 work calendar
- Google Contacts -> Apple Contacts (iCloud), except for those used by Google Talk
- Google Talk -> AIM, except for a few friends
- Google Photos -> Flickr (Yahoo)
- Google Bookmarks -> Delicious
- Google Reader -> subpug
- Google Docs -> Microsoft SkyDrive
- Google Plus -> Facebook
- Google Sites -> Evernote
- Google Voice -> Google Voice
- Google Video (YouTube) -> Vimeo
Since the migration I have been completely happy with Mail and Calendar synchronization and alerting, which is the one thing that was most frustrating before. In Jobs-speak, “it just works”. And it reality it does.
What am I missing? Nothing really. The single sign on aspect of the Google provided services was nice, but the features I gained at the competing services (especially with iCloud, SkyDrive, and Evernote) far out-weigh it. Single sign on becomes a non issue when you use services like LastPass which can securely sign on for you.
Migrating from Google Calendar can get a bit tricky. I moved all but one calendar to iCloud. I use Outlook 2010 at work with Google Calendar Sync to export my work calendar. I then subscribe to that Google Calendar from iCal and from my phone. This provides a couple of benefits:
- I get alerts for work appointments
- I get alerts for non-work appointments
- I can see when I’m not available when scheduling appointments while away from a computer.
I only use Google Calendar because I have been unable to get Outlook to publish to the WebDAV read / write URL of a “work” calendar I setup inside iCloud. Apple has an Outlook connector, but it creates a second set of Outlook post office files that you view in an overlaid fashion. Further you have to manually copy appointments from the main post office files (Exchange) to the Apple ones for them to synchronize in iCloud. There are replication utilities for it, but that’s extra overhead and most are not free. Besides, it’s not a true sync.
To move your calendar from Google Calendar to iCloud:
- Ensure Calendars are enabled in iCloud on your Mac. This is done through Systems Preferences > iCloud. Click the checkbox next to Calendars. The iCloud panel should show your logged in as well – if not, login.
- Open the iCal application.
- Open the iCal preferences with iCal > Preferences or Command+, (comma) key combination.
- Click on the Accounts section.
- If there is no iCloud account, use the + button at the bottom to add it. For the Account Type, select iCloud. Provide your Apple ID and password. Click Create.
- Make sure Calendars is checked as one of the iCloud services.
Thats it, you should now have at least a Home calendar in iCal which is being synchronized to iCloud. Check it by clicking the “Calendars” button near the top left corner of the iCal application. The popup should show two sections, “ICLOUD” and “SUBSCRIPTIONS”. Under the “ICLOUD” section, you should see Home with a check mark next to it. The check mark toggles the display of those events on and off on the calendar. You can add more calendars using the + button located next to the Calendars button.
Under subscriptions you may have one already – Birthdays. This can be turned on and off in iCal > Preferences in the General section. To turn it off uncheck the check box for “Show Birthdays calendar”. With it on, it will show a birthday event for anyone in your Address Book with a birthday defined.
Now lets export the Google Calendar data:
- In Google Calendar, go to Settings > Calendars.
- Click the “Export calendars” link which is located under the list of your calendars. This will download a zip file to your desktop (or default download location).
- Open the zip file. Once unzipped, there will be a folder with the same name (minus the zip extension).
- Open the folder. Inside is an iCal compatible file for each Google Calendar you have defined (they end in “.ics”).
Now that we have all the Google Calendar data, lets import it into iCal:
- Find the file with the name of the calendar you want to import.
- Double click it. It will open in iCal. iCal will tell you the calendar contains new events and ask for a destination calendar. Use the drop down selector to set the destination iCal calendar.
- Click OK and the events will be imported. When the import completes you will see the events on your calendar.
- Repeat this import process for any other Google Calendars you need to migrate.
Thats it! The calendars will now be synchronized on all devices that have iCloud Calendars enabled.
Once your satisfied with iCloud, in Google Calendar use Settings > Calendar to remove each calendar (the “Delete” link on the far right of each one).
Next up: Google Bookmarks