Google Apps, Outlook Internet Calendars, and SSL

I use Google Apps Premier Edition for my business, and while I really like the GMail interface, there are times where I need to use Outlook.  And, while I’m not exactly one of the Microsoft Faithful, I do happen to like the look and feel of Outlook 2007.   The new Google Apps Sync tool (available for GA Premier users like myself) is a really impressive tool, and has made it much easier to use Outlook with Google Apps.  But, Google Apps Sync only handles your main calendar – and I use multiple calendars.

Now, Outlook 2007 has this great feature called “Internet Calendars” that lets you subscribe to and iCal calendar – including Google Calendar.  Unfortunately, like most things Microsoft – and many things Google these days – there’s a little snag:

Cannot verify or add the Internet Calendar in Outlook.

Cannot verify or add the Internet Calendar in Outlook.

Outlook gives you this nasty little error message if you’re trying to connect to the Internet calendar over an SSL-encrypted connection.  And, for a number of reasons, I enforce SSL on my Google Apps service.  Looking around, I couldn’t find anyone with a solution.  Even some very good pages like the How To Geek, and knowledgeable folks like markwilson.it, didn’t seem to have an answer.  So that’s the end, right?  Nope.  Now, my IT buddies will fall over from shock – especially coming from me – but it’s actually Microsoft and Internet Explorer 8 to the rescue!

IE8 to the Rescue

If there’s one thing you can say about Microsoft, it’s that they hook Internet Explorer into everything.  This is especially true for Microsoft Office.  Well, in this case, it’s the solution to our problem.  Here are the few simple steps to get everything working:

Using IE8 to Subscribe to SSL-Encrypted Google Calendars in Outlook 2007

For this setup, I am using the following configuration:

  • Windows Vista Business
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 (as the default Calendar application).
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Connecting to a Google Calendar on Google Apps Premier Edition, with SSL enforced.

Here are the steps to follow to get your Internet Calendar setup:

  1. Open your Google Calendar.
  2. Under Settings > Calendars, click on the calendar you would like to add to Outlook.
  3. Scroll down to the Private Address section, and click ICAL.
  4. Copy the private calendar address.
  5. Open Internet Explorer.
  6. Paste the private calendar address into the IE address bar, and replace the https:// with webcals:// and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.
  7. You may get a dialog that says “Do you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer?”, click Allow.
  8. Microsoft Office Outlook will open, and ask you “Add this Internet Calendar to Outlook and subscribe to updates?”, click Advanced.
  9. Make sure the calendar name is correct, or type in the name you want to give it.  Click OK.
  10. Click Yes in the add calendar dialog box. (If the calendar doesn’t have any appointments yet, you’ll get a warning, just click Yes to add it anyway.)

That’s it!  Your Internet Calendar should now be available in Outlook.  Unfortunately, you can’t add appointments – Google Calendar subscriptions are read-only.  Hopefully we’ll see some improvement on this in the future.  For now, the only other option is to try the – unsupported – CalDAV plugin for Outlook from ZideOne, currently in beta.  If you try it, let me know how it works!

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3 thoughts on “Google Apps, Outlook Internet Calendars, and SSL”

  1. Thanks for that. I too was having trouble subscribing to some of my Google Apps calendars but no more. I did want to let you know about a little program I use called gsyncit. Gsyncit allows me to sync calendars and contacts between Google and Outlook in whatever way I want – as I use both Google and Outlook, and I use multiple calendars in both. For example a calendar in Google can be translated into a category on my main Outlook calendar, and a category in Outlook can sync with a particular calendar in Google. Or I can map a Google calendar to a Outlook calendar and still edit events from both sides. I think you’ll like it.

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