Microsoft has just released a new version of the Outlook Connector, giving users access to the Windows Live services through Outlook. In what will be a popular move (judging by the comments on our last Calendar post), the latest version now adds in calendar synchronisation. This allows users of the new Calendar beta to synchronise multiple calendars to Outlook, and manage them from within the client. We’ve been tracking this release since we heard about the new version giving calendar synch to all users, which is a change from the older versions of the connector where calendar synch was only available to those with an MSN Premium subscription.
After a brief play with the new version, functionality looks good , with all calendars appearing in Outlook automatically after configuring the connector at startup. Just enter in your Live ID details during login and as with previous versions, it will download all your folders and email from Hotmail. With the new version 12.1 though, it’ll also download your calendars, which will be first noticeable when you switch to the calendar tab in Outlook.
The existing web calendars will show up in the sidebar, and the basic tasks are easy to do. From creating a new calendar, through to adding or editing an appointment, and then sending it out to other users should you wish to do so. For those who use Outlook in a corporate environment, and want to manage their personal calendar using the same tools, this is a great step forward and hopefully something that will help push for increased usage of the overall calendar service.
Update: Service seems to be running fine now. Also if you add multiple Live IDs to the Outlook Connector you also get all the various WL Calendars :)