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Q. I haven't been able to sync Google Calendar with Outlook since Aug. 1. Is there a workaround, or can we get Google to restore Outlook support?

A. To get Microsoft's contacts/calendar/mail app working again with Google's calendar site, you'll need to turn to third-party software. Or switch to a different calendar service.

Google and Microsoft began walking toward this impasse years ago with separate decisions about what calendar-synchronization languages to support — yes, it's yet another tech-industry family feud — and neither seems anxious to reconsider.

First, Microsoft chose not to build a calendar-sync standard called CalDAV into Outlook or such other software as its Windows Phone operating system. Then Google decided it could stop doing calendar sync using a licensed version of Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync when other options didn't require dealing with lawyers in Redmond, Wash.

Google announced the upcoming end of "EAS"-based sync in December 2012. By August of last year, Microsoft had updated Windows Phone to allow Google calendar and contacts sync via open standards Google now supports (CalDAV and CardDAV). But no such update had arrived for Outlook when Google officially cut off that app on Aug. 1, and none seems to be coming soon.

(If you were thinking Google looks like the good guys in this story, remember that it didn't officially anoint those two open, free-to-use standards until after months of confusion over whether it was really trying to push everybody to use a separate, Google-only system.)

This reader could pay $50 a year for a Google Apps account that, in addition to letting him use a personal domain name and have ad-free Web mail, would include Outlook calendar sync. But he said he didn't want to give up a Gmail address that he's used for years, and you can't move a Gmail address to a Google Apps account.

He could move all of his calendars over to Microsoft's free Outlook.com service, but then he'd have a separate account to manage and he'd need to redo a round of settings on all his mobile devices, including installing a separate app on any Android phones or tablets. And if he'd shared any calendars with friends, he'd have to recreate those settings, too.

I suggested he instead consider installing one of the many plug-ins for Outlook that can talk to Google Calendar under Google's new rules.

Among these options, I'd look at the $50 CompanionLink (its developers have been doing Google sync tools since the days of Palm handhelds, and other software from the company can sync directly from Outlook to Android) and the $20 gSyncit (you can try it for free with limited features, and the Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern gave it a favorable writeup last month).

Moral of the story: Life is easiest if both the Web services you use and the desktop apps you run both promise to speak the same open standards. But try to get that pledge in writing from all the companies involved first.

TIP: GOOGLE BRINGS 'PHOTO SPHERES' TO iOS

One of my favorite Android features is the "Photo Sphere": the option in Google's camera app to take an interactive 3-D panorama that you can pan around in not just left and right but up and down. It's a neat bit of homemade VR you can create in a couple of minutes by pointing a phone where the camera app's interface tells you, one shot at a time. (See a collection of these on this Google Maps page.)

At first that was reserved to Nexus phones running a standard version of Android, then Google shipped a standalone Camera app other Android users could install, and last week it delivered a Photo Sphere Camera app for iOS. It's free but requires an iPhone 4S or newer.

Rob Pegoraro is a tech writer based out of Washington, D.C. To submit a tech question, e-mail Rob at rob@robpegoraro.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/robpegoraro.

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