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Solving MS Outlook Pain with Google Calendar, Chrome Extensions

I am very frustrated with Microsoft Outlook - particularly the calendar... which, for every scheduling / meeting exchange, requires one to switch between inbox and calendar. As a calendar fills up, this becomes more and more cumbersome - and ineffective. It is a root of daily pain - and for those around me, complaining. So I posed the question to Facebook and Twitter: what are great examples of plugins that make Microsoft Outlook more efficient / effective:

Here is the solution I have gone with (at least thus far). It shows just how frustrated I am - since it is a lot of work - and, to Jon Steinberg's point above, it shows the role Google plays in all of this:

1. I set up a sync for my Outlook Calendar with Gmail. It works both ways and is quite easy to set up (see here).... I wish they did this for contacts too!

2. Using Google Chrome, I installed the Google Calendar Checker w/ Popup. It displays your calendar as a Chrome extension and shows appointments, dates, etc all within a drop down.

This works great if you use dual monitors and have email and browser on separate screens. It's better than Outlook on a single screen (even this small laptop) - but is still not ideal. At least it allows you to navigate the calendar (particularly by date) without having to lose your inbox position.

A New SEO Business Model - Selling Your SEO Data / Logs?

Here are a few of the search engine queries that delivered traffic to my blog this morning: - Dunkin Donuts California - Google Analytics Real Time - Google Analytics Real-Time - Xobni Blackberry - Xobni for Blackberry - Direct TV Commercials - Google Analytics vs Slimstat - How to Synchronize Outlook with Gmail - Sync Google Outlook Contacts - Uninstalling Xobni Problems

If compiled over time and with more specific information (geographic, etc) - this is valuable data. Do you think that Xobni would be interested in the volume or "Xobni Blackberry" queries? Would Google be interested in knowing how many people are looking for real time Google Analytics or having trouble syncing Gmail with Outlook? There are no Dunkin Donuts in California - but I get enough search queries to demonstrate that DD would have a healthy following... they'd surely be interested in that data (particularly if zip codes can be associated).

While my site traffic isn't massive - I have 100,000s of data points like those above. TechCrunch and other larger sites are sitting on far bigger sets of data that would be massively valuable to CMOs, product managers, advertisers, and others. Companies often launch preliminary paid search campaigns to test user appetites for certain keywords and copy... that data could be made available via natural search and effectively reveal user intent, query volume, competition, product strategies, etc.

I am not sure how the marketplace for this sort of information would work - obviously user privacy needs to be respected and it's technically complicated. I also wonder if this opens up an ad marketplace. For instance, would a web analytics company want to advertise on targeted pages where traffic arrives from the query "Google Analytics Real Time" or "Google Analytics vs Slimstat"? The impression volume likely won't be high - and it would require a long tail of content - BUT the CPMs would be very high.

Why Can't I Sync Google Calendar, Contacts With Outlook?

Earlier, I wrote about how Xobni made Outlook better, but failed to make my email universally better. And I've actually been wanting something to tie my e-content together long before Xobni launched.  I have three computers, six email accounts, a blackberry and information spread throughout them. When I left eBay, I spent way too long transferring my e-rolodex to Gmail. Why Gmail? Because I live on my blackberry more than any other device, and Google's mobile releases are terrific on the berry. That solved part of the problem - but still isn't close to enabling active syncing between even my Outlook and Google accounts.

Why does Google treat my calendar, email and contacts as distinct properties? Isn't that why Outlook is so powerful? And why can't I turn on an extension through Outlook to actively sync through those Google properties?It kills me.

And I know that plugins exist to do some of the discussed actions - but I don't need 10 different plugins (especially when I haven't found one that works well).