Google Adds Public Event Search

Google has added public event search within its Google Calendar, a nice little piece of integration that overlaps with what a lot of startups are doing.

The event aggregation space has recently been strengthened by outside investment: Zvents said it raised $7 million last week, Eventful (whose site appears to be down at the moment nevermind, it’s back up) raised $7.5 million, and Upcoming was bought by Yahoo.

Google Calendar users can now search for events by keyword, category, location, and date from within the calendar interface. Search results are drawn from movie listings, concerts, and other events from Google’s partners, or individual users via tools for publishing events and inviting people to them.

However, Google’s event planning does not seem to be integrated with Gmail contacts, Orkut, or any sort of social profiles. We’ve written a lot about the challenges faced by socially focused event-planning sites such as Skobee, Socializr, HeyLetsGo, Renkoo (will they ever launch?), and Involver. There are many other participants in this little segment…Minglenow, Planypus (site also appears to be down it’s back up now), and Weekendr, with varying emphasis on informal versus public events.

Calendar events have the potential to cut across a lot of Google products — local search, Google Base, et cetera — and, of course, there’s plenty ad potential there. The bevy of startups in the space are correct in saying that existing tools, including offline alternatives, Evite, and the event calendar on Craigslist, could definitely use an upgrade. We don’t recall recent figures on the active number of users of Google Calendar, but we’ll try to get that number if we can.

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