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Bigger hammer

Google Calendar doesn't import iCalendar Attendees

I'm putting this here where Google will index it, to hopefully save others from banging their heads against the same problem. There are some discussion threads around referring to this issue but few definite conclusions, and the Google Calendar developers appear to be remaining silent on the matter.

  • Google Calendar events can include a list of attendees (though it calls them Guests).
  • The iCalendar data format also supports attendees.
  • When you export a Google Calendar to iCalendar data, the attendees are included.
  • When you import iCalendar data into a Google Calendar, the attendees are silently ignored.

I've just spent over an hour trying to find a bug in a program I've written which generates iCalendar data. The attendees show up fine when I import the data into Apple iCal but they don't appear in Google Calendar. What eventually convinced me that it is a Google Calendar import bug/limitation rather than a problem with my code is this:

  1. Create a new test calendar.
  2. Create a new event with a Guest (attendee).
  3. Export the calendars.
  4. Open the relevant .ics file in a text editor and confirm that the attendee is included.
  5. Delete the test calendar and recreate it. (Because if you simply delete the event, Google Calendar refuses to re-import it.)
  6. Import the .ics file from the first test calendar.
  7. Look at the event and confirm that the Guests have disappeared.
  8. Export the calendars again.
  9. Open the new .ics file and confirm that the attendee data is gone.

Comments

(Anonymous)

It is a GCal limitation

The consensus that I'm seeing is that because of the method uses to ensure the events stay in sync, it will not allow you to statically add attendees when importing a file, but you can programmatically add them with the API:

https://developers.google.com/google-apps/calendar/v3/reference/events/insert