I sent this to one group member the other day but thought others could also benefit from it:
This is what I'm trying right now. Here's my current setup.
I have an iMac at home that's really being used more as a server. I don't access Address Book or iCal on it really. In other words, it's going to be out of sync. I don't use it to sync calendars or contacts with any iOS devices, so that's not a problem.
I have an iPad that I've setup to use the Google Sync services, so that part isn't affected. You can find instructions for setting up an iOS device here: http://www.google.com/sync/index.html
I have a MacBook Pro running OS X 10.7.4 that's really my primary computer. I definitely use the Address Book and want to keep that in sync.
That does come with its own set of...quirks, but it appears to be the simplest alternative for now. Some of the quirks involve contact photos disappearing or not syncing. I haven't seen any other glaring issues.
It does use the native OS X SyncServices and Sync Resolver, so you'll periodically see messages about conflicts and choose which version you want to use. This has always been there, and the earlier versions of SpanningSync as well as MobileMe were prone to it, too.
This only syncs the primary Google calendar. If you have additional Google Calendars you want in iCal, you have to do a few more things.
That solution is important if you need access to your Google calendar(s) offline.
If you only access your Google calendar(s) when you're option, there's an entirely different approach that essentially makes Google Calendar a separate OS X "App." It's called a Single Site Browser (SSB).
The original SSB creation app was Fluid.app. You can find information about it and download it here: http://fluidapp.com/
It relies, essentially, on the WebKit part of Safari. I have used this, and it's pretty much Google Calendar, but in a separate app. The Free version will at least let you see if this option is a possibility for you. If you want a few added bells and whistles, there's a paid version for $5.
If you want to use Chrome as the browser engine, there's more work involved. There are two good articles documenting the process, but I haven't tried them yet.
I'd definitely use a backup service like Spanning Backup
(same folks as Spanning Sync). It has the added benefit of backing up ALL your Google stuff. It's $35 a year, but there's a 14-day trial.
There's also Backupify
, which also offers the ability to backup social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. A free plan exists for 3 services, and paid versions start at $5/mo.
Way before this happened, I created an Automator workflow to export all contacts as individual vCards stored in a Dropbox folder. A few contacts over the years have mysteriously been deleted, and the ability to restore just one has been great. Plus, since Dropbox keeps previous versions, there's some added safety there. In addition to exporting all as individual vCards, it then zips the entire folder with the current date added to the filename.
I haven't made it public (yet), though, or posted any instructions. A recent release, possibly 10.7.4, subtly changed an Automator action that no longer quits Address Book without error. I'm looking at workarounds and an automated solution.
There isn't a similar capability for iCal in Automator (that I've found), and I haven't investigated AppleScript enough to export calendars as iCal files rather than an iCal Archive. The difference is that each calendar would be an ICS file that can be manipulated and imported without changing all calendars. The iCal Archive, when restored, essentially replaces anything currently in iCal. It's like a nuclear option.
I'll try to write one or more blog post over the next week or two about all this and what I've discovered and decided on.
Feel free to comment or ask questions.