Sync Your Gmail Contacts, Calendar With iPhone & Windows Mobile

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Last August, I upgraded from a simple flip phone to a HTC Touch. Immediately I began looking for a way to avoid manually entering my Gmail contacts into the phone.

After several hours of fruitless searching, I stumbled on NuevaSync–a free service that sync’d both my Gmail contacts and my Google Calendar.  Thankfully, they also support Google Apps accounts.

When I got an iPod Touch, I started three-way syncing my contacts and calendar across three platforms: Windows Mobile, iPhone, and the cloud.

As a user, this free service is a dream. I only think about it when I need to change a setting–otherwise everything is seamlessly behind the scenes. And they keep improving. They just announced iPhone multiple calendar support, and expect to break 100,000 users sometime this week.

NuevaSync maintains a low profile–they don’t charge, they don’t advertise, their website is spartan, and yet they’re hiring full-time staff.

So I e-mailed David Boreham, their CEO, with a few questions:

Why do people use the service?

A common story is a husband and wife team who want to share a calendar. One of the pair will typically begin using the service first then ask us if their spouse can share a calendar. We have doctors using the service we well as lawyers, scientists, students and even a few venture capitalists. After fixing a number of user-reported timezone bugs we know that we have users in all parts of the world (including Easter Island). We don’t really track specific companies using the service but we know from support traffic that it’s common for several people in the same organization to use the service together, with shared calendars.

How long have you been around, and what’s the roadmap for the future?

Nuevasync began public service in September 2007. Originally the service was deployed as a vehicle for testing our sync protocol implementation. Google calendar was chosen as the first data source somewhat at random, based on the availability of an API and reasonable terms of service for its use. Over time, and particularly after the release of the iPhone 2.0 in July 2008 users selected the service as a way to sync Google contacts and calendar with their phones. Nuevasync adapted to the influx of new users, deploying more servers and moving our operations to a highly reliable data center in the South Bay.

We just released support for multiple colored calendars on the iPhone and iPod touch. Also the ability to select which Google calendars sync to the device, and sync for read-only calendars (holidays, sports team calendars etc). The next big feature planned is support for e-mail push sync. Longer term you can expect us to add support for more data sources (e.g. CalDAV, other public PIM services besides Google).

How many users do you have–and what devices are they using?

We have 95313 registered users and around 800 new users per day. Device breakdown is as follows:

iPhone : 75%
iPod Touch : 16%
Windows Mobile : 7%
Noika : 1%
Other (Palm, Blackberry, PocketPC2003) : 1%

How many people are using Google Apps?

I don’t have exact numbers for Google Apps users, but based on an analysis of users’ e-mail addresses it’s a roughly 80:20 split.

Given your low profile, how do users find NuevaSync?

We don’t have good data on this but based on the timing of our big new user spikes we think that many users find articles about our service when performing an online search. In the beginning we undertook a primitive form of SEO where we’d try Google searches along the lines of what we’d expect a prospective user to do (e.g. ‘sync google calendar windows mobile’ — this was long before the iPhone). Then in the search results we’d look for any pages that had editable content (typically blog posts or forums), and we’d add a comment to the page pointing out our service as a possible solution to the problem being discussed. The current set of articles and forum posts grew from this initial seeding effort and the early adopters that generated.
We also know from user feedback that they often recommend the service to friends and colleagues.

  • stephen

    is there any software for Nokia e51 to sync with Hotmail calendar,contacts & so on ? pls mail me

  • Raul Pedro Santos

    I wonder how many of these “sync your e-mail contacts” and “import your contacts from your account” services sell our e-mail address books to spammers. I do believe some of them are legitimate but they always remind me of those idiotic sites that claim they can tell you who blocked you on MSN Messenger – if you give them your username and password. I mean, didn’t anyone ever told you that you DON’T give away your username and password to anyone?

    • Alexander Svensson

      Strongly agreed! Google Calendar provides a private URL for each calendar (XML and iCalendar format) — why isn’t there some software for the iPhone that uses this URL for sync. Even if it is a one-way sync to the iPhone, I’d prefer it to a service that wants what is probably my most powerful password: my Google account.

      • Jamie Cameron

        There is – you can configure iCal on the mac to subscribe to a gMail iCalendar URL, which is then synced (read-only) to the iPhone. Two-way sync requires something like spanning sync though.

    • David Boreham

      Raul: 1) please read our privacy policy which sets out what we will and won’t do with user data. 2) users do not give us their passwords because we use OAuth (although obviously we do have access to their calendar and/or contact data).

  • Manpreet Singh

    Nice App will it work with other cell blackberry?

  • Dias

    Ok, how do they make money?

  • Johan Trip

    Ok, got to have this. Now syncing with mac calendar and then to iphone.


  • cuan

    just starting using this…thanks for a great solution..

  • Luke

    This is in their FAQ:

    How are you guys going to make money?
    We’re not certain, but probably by introducing some form of premium paid service.

    When will you introduce a premium service?
    Not in the immediate future. We want to achieve a high level of reliability, device coverage and features first. We’re not there yet.

    • Dias

      Oh, I missed that. Thank you for information.

  • Khash

    I’ve been using their service on my iPhone for some time now and love it. It’s very reliable and stable. I think they were (or still are) primarily a hosting company in Montana or somewhere and make their money that way and NeuvaSync is supported by the revenue from the hosting side of the business.

  • Andrea

    A question:
    I use windows live calendar (still in beta) and a blackberry. Do you know of any ways to synchronize the two?

  • Aaron Peters

    How is this better than Soocial?

  • Sandman

    Nuevasync does Calendars but Soocial only does Address Books?

    • Khash

      NuevaSync do contacts too

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  • yachris

    Interestingly, Google has Google Sync — — which solves the “give a third party your login” problem. Not sure if it works with anything other than BlackBerry, though.

    • Danny

      That only works for blackberry. Google doesn’t have a sync app for iPhone and Windows Mobile users

    • Mr. Magoober

      I just checked the Google Sync video out, and Google Sync works with iPhones, Blackberries, Windows Mobile, and the Symian platform phones is the website

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  • Beau Giles

    Old news – I blogged about nuevasync back in July, and Lifehacker picked up on it soon after. I dealt can’t wait until they introduce email support!

    Posted from my iPhone.

  • Dan Kalmar

    Going to try this out, hopefully it works. I’ve been using a program called gmailsync and I have been having a lot of problems with it, not sure if it’s because I’m using Windows Mobile 6.1 or not.

  • Ryan Rife

    I’m not sure if it’s Blackberry-only, but Google offers the same functionality in Google Sync.

    • pepe

      Only works with Blackberry.

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  • Carlton Northern

    Awesome! I just lost all my contacts!! This is such a great app! I can’t wait to go home and put my latest backup on my phone! I wonder how much data I lost since I last backed up! Thanks for telling us about this horrible app TechCrunch!

  • Carlton Northern

    Ok, I didn’t lose my data. Well, I did lose it for about 5 minutes. For about 5 minutes I had no calendar data on my iPhone or on Google Calendar. That would make a person think their data disappeared. It looks like it is all back now, so, I would actually say this is a pretty good app. It just needs to be a little more user friendly and and user-oriented. Like maybe telling the user that their data may “disappear” for a few minutes would be nice.

    • Groovymarlin

      Carlton – they actually address that issue in their FAQs ( See the bullet entitled: “You deleted all the contacts/events from my iPhone! Why did you do that?”

      It’s an Apple “feature,” actually – Apples sync client always deletes all existing data the first time you sync. Pretty nerve-wracking, but not Nuevasync’s fault!

    • Rashaad

      Next time read the info before you jump into anything.

  • D Harris

    I’ve still not found any way to sync both my work calendar (from MS Exchange server) and my Google calendar. The iPhone allows only one sync source.

    There are options which involve a desktop piece (gcal -> outlook -> iphone or gcal -> ical -> entourage -> iphone) but nothing over the air.

    The best solution will be for Apple to allow the iPhone to sync directly to multiple calendars — including support for iCal and CalDAV standards.

  • kidd

    I have been using this for a while with my google account. Just waiting for the mail to work.

  • Rob Loach

    This already works seemlessly with the Android G1, without any third party software.

  • Kevin Leong

    Can anyone comment on Funambol? They have contacts, calender and email sync too. Funambol is open source.

  • PDitty

    Just a warning…there are multiple reports of people losing their contacts. So before you do anything I would suggest backing up your google contacts to a csv file.
    It happened to me.

    • Damien

      That was a temporary issue, that has been resolved.. They were upgrading servers. My contacts were messed up for about a day, but well worth the inconvenience for this amazing service.

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