Google Calendar

posted on 04/16/06 at 10:19:28 pm by Joel Ross

I'm assuming that at some point, Google Calendar will offer an API, and?I will?be able to write some sort of integration between it and my local Outlook calendar (or someone else will, and I'll be able to use it). That's why I'm playing with it - I have no need for another, seperate way to manage my schedule. And just because it's online doesn't automatically make it better than what I have now.

Anyway, I started playing with it a couple of days ago. There's a lot I like about it. It has the same idea behind keyboard shortcuts that Gmail does, which makes it easy for Gmail users to pick up. Adding events is very simple, and feels a lot like the way you can enter events into other online calendars, such as Obviously, Google is hoping that a few things will help them beat their competitors:

  1. Name recognition: Google obviously has an advantage over other, smaller calendar providers. My wife knows who Google is, but has no idea who spongecell is, even if spongecell is better.
  2. Gmail integration: None of the other smaller calendars are offering email, and no one has an online email application like gmail. Integration between email and calendar is a standard on the desktop, but hasn't been a theme in the online space yet - Yahoo's calendar may have it, but for some reason, no one gives Yahoo credit when it comes to this stuff, mainly because they've been in the game a lot longer than most. Yahoo built Web 1.0 versions of most of these things, and instead of launching in a Web 2.0 world, they're only enhancing, which gives them a perceived disadvantage to companies just launching.
  3. Gtalk integration: Google Calendar allows you to set your status automatically when an event starts, which gives you power to control your online presense directly from your calender. I haven't seen this feature anywhere, primarily because even fewer online calendars have IM programs than offer email. I'm sure now that it's out there, this will be added to other calendars, and the addition of plug-in support and APIs to IM software will facilitate this transition.

That's about all the advantages I see. I know I'll never fully move to an online application for calendaring (or email for that mattter), but it would be nice to have it as a secondary?option. Given that I don't want two different calendars and I need to maintain one in Outlook for work, I won't be moving permanently, but a secondary, easy way to add things or quickly review it might be nice.

Of course, the biggest question around a google launch is performance. So far, it looks like Google got this one right - I haven't seen anyone report problems accessing it. I did have one small issue where it wouldn't add events, but closing and reopening the window solved that for me. It's nice to see that Google got a launch correct, but they obviously knew this one had to be. A calendar is a way of life for some, and if it's not easy and reliable from day one, then it's not going to get used.

Having said all of that, if you are currently calendar free, but don't want to be, this is a good place to start.

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