Google Calendar Almost There

46 Comments

Someone who has been spoiled by 30Boxes and Zimbra’s calendaring application, Google Calendar looks pretty mundane. But main stream users looking for a simple web-based calendar that is easy to use, will Google Calendar, (announced earlier today,) capable of doing a good job.

Unlike previous Google releases, this one is visually more complete, though lags when it comes to features. The application is pretty snappy, and the ajax-technology has been put to good use. Google Calendar is the right kind of minimalism. Did they finally hire designers?

Creating an event was as simple as a clicking the time and date box, filling out the event details. You could share the event and also add more details by double clicking on the colored event box. I found the quick-add feature particularly useful. Type “coffee with Mike on Friday at 2 pm” and it just shows up at the right place at the right time. (30Boxes already has this feature, and was one of my favorite things about 30 Boxes.)

If you give Google your email address or mobile phone number, then you will get an email notification or an SMS. Otherwise wait for a pop-up. You can also have your daily agenda emailed every morning to you as well.

Mac users will find it particularly useful. You can subscribe to the calendar in iCal. In order to do so, you have to hit the “manage calendar” link, and then calendar details. There is an RSS feed and also an iCal subscription icon. Importing your ics file from your iCal is fairly routine as well.

It was rather simple. However, Mac users will find that it doesn’t work with Mac’s Safari browser. Apparently Google Calendar integrates with GMail, but since I stopped using Gmail, I have no idea about if this really works. You can judge it for yourself of course.

46 Comments

Narendra

Leon,

We are putting together a full export soon. I suspect you’ll be back to 30boxes in the future though.

RYK

The calendar sharing feature is the real KILLER APP here. I can see this thing cathing on.

AND it makes Plaxo redundant.

RYK

Om Malik

mahalie, if the review seems silly to you, then perhaps you might want to re read it because essentially what i am saying is what you are saying.

mahalie

Of all the reviews of Google’s calendar I’ve read so far, yours seems rather silly. For starters, let’s compare apples to apples – like Yahoo’s calendar.

The main advantage Google Calendar has over other apps, as I see it, is quick and painless sharing with other Google Calendar users regardless of platform. It imports existing calendars from Outlook in addition to iCal making it very easy to convert and reminders can be sent to your phone and/or email, making it incredibly simple for anyone with a cell phone to use.

This isn’t supposed to be a feature over-loaded end-all be-all of calendar apps. It’s a free web-based simple-to-use solution and there was definately a gap that it is filling. Is it perfect? No. Would syncing with PDAs be nice, of course. In fact I wish I could set up my Outlook at work to sync with it automatically, cause I’d love to switch completely.

Satchidanand Haridas

I guess Google didn’t take into account that fact that SMSes may not reach the recipients in time when it allowed for an SMS notification feature for its Calendar application. I had set up an event for 9.00 am this morning with a notification to be sent ten minutes prior to the event. I received the SMS notification at 2.40 pm. Now what I’m not sure is whether the delay is because of my mobile phone service (T-mobile) or Google which may be overloaded with the number of SMSes that have to be sent. They have faced similar problems earlier when they launched Google Pages.

Ethan

its not useful to mac users if you use safari cause it doesnt suppor it. And guys its a calendar I dont find it that exciting.

steve

Just a link from Gmail .. that’s all … and make the RSS links work … oh yeah .. enough servers so I can log in … and weather each day like yahoo added 3 years ago … um and AJAX great but it’s slow I added an event 5 times cause nothing happened and then 2 minutes later i had event 5 times ,… so AJAX aint good yet …
Tasks? ummm where are they,… why no (thorough) integration with gmail – just a link even????.

But good start … ummm almost

jeff

I’m in the process of moving my calendar from 30boxes to Google Calendar. 30boxes only exports recent events, it does NOT export all the events, ie, it only exports part of my calendar instead of my entire calendar. Does anyone know how I can get all my events exported from 30boxes?

leon

Well, this looks very cool but yeah on reflection I agree with the points about the lack of PDA/Smartphone/Blackberry syncing. It’s the one thing that will stop me considering using it professionly. That said me and a few people are going to try it just for fun to see if it makes organising meetings and social events any easier.:)

Sachin Kotwani

Is Google Calendar really integrated with GMail? According to the Help section you should have a link to the Calendar on the top left corner of your GMail page but I don’t see it. Do they have to refresh the individual accounts? Anyone else see this?

Om Malik

srini,

on zimbra, well it replaced outlook on the web, so why do you need a client? i am not sure what you meant. please clarify.

Om Malik

brian,

here is the deal: i am not going to put my information on google calendar. there is a specific reason why i stopped using google mail. i don’t want google to have all my information: some sure, but not all. as i have said time and again, nothing really is free.

its a decision people have to make on their own.

Sean

30 boxes has ical subscriptions, rss feeds, sms notifications, tagging, and some javascript to post events to your website.

GCal has google maps integration.

Om Malik

Eric B… good catch. sorry about the typo. late at night. really appreciate you pointing it out.

Andrew

3.2 M Blackberry users, scratch their collective heads – wondering why PDA integration isn’t part of a Calendar app…

Brian

Om – just curious for your take…

Why would I put my info in Google calendar so they can send me an SMS with Starbucks ad when I am meeting for coffee? Do you think anyone cares about the privacy they give up when using Google services?

Love reading the site – keep up the good work.

Brian

3rdparty

Looks clean, however one glaring omission seems to be the ability to customize where and when email notifications are sent. Hopefully thats in the works.

Curious, why did you stop using Gmail? Privacy concerns?

Matt

Umm… well. This is Google – yet another example of how they can’t bild a consistent interface. Top Left corner of Gcal allows me to switch quickly to Google Search, Gmail, Calendar, More…

Top left of Gmail – nothing…

If they want me to use these feature sets they at least need to reflect (and integrate) the new features into the applications I already use.

This is the same issue I had when trying out the original Yahoo Mail beta (V.2 – we’re on V6) – there was a huge delay in getting in to Yahoo Calendar… and initially no link to it from the Mail App!

Frank

Google has some nice features like the quick add for events, but it lacks a lot of features that are in current products like airset.

It really needs a sync to Palm, Outlook and Phones.

No real Contact address book.

And how can it not support the Safari browser? I wonder if it works with Firefox?

Carl

Has some great features, just a shame that you can’t send SMS reminders to a mobile phone in the UK yet. Google have SMS search live in the UK, so switching on alerts should not have been/ be a problem if they think to do it!

Srini

I see the big difference is integration with gmail. Without that, there is not much difference between Gcal and others. If I can get a sync tool with outlook then I can move.
On a related note, I tried the Zimbra email demo a few months back and it was amazing. Sadly, they don’t have a client to replace Outlook.

Kingsley

I’ll switch when it’s integrated with GMail and let’s me add invitations received over email.

PS: Can you remove the bold CSS on these fields? I feel like I’m shouting.

Thijs Houben

I am on the move from 30boxes to google calendar. Although I like 30boxes a lot, it was missing some stuff that google has. Most important to me is a decent week view. This allows me to have some visual feedback on how much time I have left: in 30boxs you can not see (without reading the details) the difference between two half our events planned in the morning and two 5 hour events spanning the entire day.
One other thing I sorely missed in 30boxes is multiple calendars. I know you use tags instead but I just don’t find that as easy as two separate calendars with each their own color.

moo

I was playing around with it for some time and sent an invitation to my yahoo id. It takes a really long time for the mail to come through. Everything else is pretty snazzy. Love the quick-add feature. This is a far better debut when compared with Google Video and Google Base.

Emmett Shear

You should take a look at Kiko Calendar…it had all these features months ago, and new ones are coming out all the time. Doesn’t have a Google hype machine backing it, but those are expensive :).

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