If you’ve been reading this site for a while you know I used to sing the praises of the suite of Apple tools like Mail and iCal but for one reason or another, mostly my growing obsession with having all my data online rather than tied to any specific piece of hardware I moved one at a time mostly over to Google. This worked fine and dandy when I had a phone with no calendaring and no mail to speak of, but having recently given in and purchasing an iPhone, I’m back in the world of trying to figure out how to use one with the other. Mail works pretty flawlessly, calendars not so much. We all know MobileMe still kind of eats ass.

When looking for solutions I kept finding something that would work between my laptop’s iCal and Google’s online calendar but not by iPhone, or the other way around. That’s no good, and if I’m going to go through the trouble of syncing something it needs to work simply and with everything. I asked for suggestions on Twitter and more than a few folks recommended Spanning Sync. I signed up for the free trial and it worked like a charm. Rather than adding my Google Calendar to iCal as a separate calendar, it asked which two to sync. Previously I had breakouts for me, friends, and business. Now I have breakouts for me, friends, and business. See how awesome that is? The clincher was when the free trial expired and I found myself scrambling to cover all the bases again and decided it was worth the $25 pricetag. Just now when adjusting a preference I saw an “invite a friend” option and clicked it and found out they have an affiliate thing too. So if you use this link to sign up for Spanning Sync you get $5 off and I make $5 for the trouble of sending you there. Fun!

Yesterday, Tara wrote up a very detailed description of how she got Google Calendar and iCal to play nice using some built in support options and if I hadn’t already been loving the Spanning Sync I probably would have given it a shot. Her suggestions are a little more involved, but are free and don’t require a third party middle man like I’m using which might be important to you. Anyone else had luck trying out a different option?