Contact Sync

I wrote the following draft blog post in December 2008:

I’m closer than ever to never having to plug in my BlackBerry to a computer to sync it. The exception is still contacts, which I can get away with syncing once a week or so.

My calendars are synced with Google Calendar. This is handled on the BlackBerry with OTA Google Sync and on the Mac with BusySync. I’ve read about the native iCal/Google Calendar integration, but there still seem to be some quirks. For now, BusySync is the solution I’ve decided to trust.

There are a variety of contact sync options for the Mac:

  • Plaxo
  • Spanning Sync (Google Contacts)
  • MobileMe

After fighting with it for a while, I finally made peace with Plaxo. It seems to work as well as anything else and I do like the “auto-update” feature from my contacts that also use Plaxo.

However, my use of Plaxo may be somewhat short lived, as Google as come out with OTA sync for contacts in their BlackBerry Sync app. I’m not ready to take the plunge on this yet – I almost always wait for the second or third release of sync products because they always seem to have problems.

However, long term it seems inevitable that I’ll be syncing my contacts to the Google cloud. For a complete solution, I need a desktop client that can sync with Google.

There is a Google sync option in the Mac’s built-in Address Book, but it only works when syncing an iPhone/iPod (a service from MobileMe I suppose). This is a poor solution for me because, as I understand it, I’d need to plug in my iPhone to any Mac I want to sync contacts on. I only plug the iPhone in to my work desktop for the most part. I don’t need updated contact or calendar data on it as I primarily use it as a portable web tablet (not a phone).

A couple of months ago, I took the plunge and moved from Plaxo to Google Sync. I had to run the sync manually from the command line, but it worked. And even better, it let me sync contacts to my BlackBerry over the air using Google Sync for BlackBerry.

Everything was good until I realized that all of the notes I had in my contact records were missing from my BlackBerry. Further poking around showed them missing from Gmail contacts and all of my computers. Not so good.

So I reverted back to a backup, and am now trying out this approach using DropBox in combination with Missing Sync via Bluetooth. Hopefully it continues to work well.

It saddens me that the only real working BlackBerry contact sync option (with OTA) out there is still to use Exchange and BES.

I also used this script to import a bunch of Gravatars into my address book – something similar with Twitter avatars, Facebook profiles, etc. would be pretty cool.