Tutorial Thursday

I love using Google Calendar, but sometimes it isn’t very convenient to manage the calendar online. One application that aims to conquer the synchronization issue is Calgoo, and for the past few months I’ve been involved with a closed-beta version of the program. The new version has several cool new features like synchronization with Outlook, multiple themes, manage tasks, and also a minimize-to-tray option.


I have found a great way to synchronize your Google Calendar with Mozilla Sunbird in case your not a huge fan of Calgoo, or you’re just looking for an alternate method to take your calendar offline. To do this we’ll be using a program called GCALDaemon, which is a free open-source program that already has great instructions available. Their instructions are very complete with screenshots complementing every instruction, so my goal is to make this as condensed as possible while still being thorough (and explaining errors that I made :) ).

  1. Download and install both Sunbird and GCALDaemon. This window means that GCALDaemon has successfully installed itself, and you can go ahead and close it:
  2. Go to Start -> GCALDaemon -> Service -> Install and after that window disappears go to Start -> GCALDaemon -> Service -> Start:
  3. Go to Google Calendar and you need to copy your private iCal address. This will be used in in Sunbird so that GCALDaemon can perform the two-way synchronization.
    Google Calendar
  4. Start the Sunbird Calendar application and go to File -> New Calendar and on the pop-up window choose “On the Network”.
  5. This is an important part that I originally screwed up because I didn’t notice it in their instructions. Your instinct would say to paste the iCal address from step 3 into the box on this screen, and you’re kinda right. However, you need to make sure all requests go through the GCALDaemon program so you have to modify the part of the address that says “” to saying “localhost:9090” which then makes it look like this:
  6. Now just finish creating your calendar by providing a name and you’re going to be all set. Every time you create or edit an event it will automatically be synchronized with your Google Calendar. After creating an event you will be prompted to enter in your Calendar’s username/password, but you’ll be given the option to save it so that you don’t have to enter it in each time.

Of course, Sunbird offers some fields that Google does not have a spot for so those won’t be able to synchronize. Here is a screenshot that represents what fields are currently compatible with Google Calendar:

Sunbird & Google Calendar

The great thing about GCALDaemon is that you can do even more with it. For those of you who are Rainlendar users, these instructions can be used to setup GCALDaemon to work with that program to synchronize your Google Calendar.

There are some different configuration options that you can also do with GCALDaemon, such as displaying a progress bar during synchronization, which can be done by using the instructions at the bottom of this page.

Overall, I think the only people who can make a great Calendar app that works seamlessly with Google Calendar is Google themselves. Calgoo is a great attempt to do this, but I find the interface to be a little clunky and bloated. Sunbird is nearly perfect in my opinion as far as the interface goes, but setting up Google Calendar to work with it should take just one-click. I hope to see Google’s next big move bring some of their online services into the offline world.