Friday, April 14, 2006

Google Calendar - Live

Google Calendar (screen shots) was released yesterday. After Windows Live Mail, Google Calendar was second on my list of most awaited online applications. The entire blogging community has gone crazy. Suddenly people who did not need calendars, now feel the need to use them.

I have not had time to review it in detail, but here are my initial thoughts:

Things that I liked:
Natural language recognition: In the few tests that I did, it really worked. Google Calendar automatically understands “Dinner with LA Lukhas at 9 pm on Saturday”.

Integrated with GMail: When I receive an email in GMail that contains event information, GMail automaticallrecognizeses it and allows me to add it to Google Calendar with a couple of clicks. HOWEVER, a GMail account is NOT required to use Google Calendar.

Integrated with Google maps: For events that have a valid US address as their location, Google calendar automatically picks it up and adds a Google Maps link next to it.

Calendar Searching: ItÂ’s Google, so ofcourse itÂ’s going to search the hell out of the calendar. I can search for events by subject, attendees or location.

AJAX based: So you know what that means, a slick user interface. And itÂ’s fast, really really fast.

Open platform: It uses the open iCal and hence data exporting/importing should be really easy. Google has got help sections which describe on how to import data from Outlook and Yahoo Calendar.

Invitation management: Sending of Outlook style meeting requests and attendee management is possible. And since itÂ’s integrated with GMail, it automatically recognizes the names that are part of my GMail contact list.

Things that I did not like:
Year view: There is daily, weekly and a montly view, but no yearly view.

Mini calendar: The previous and next month links do not automatically open the calendar for the month.

Time Zones: There is no support for time zones.

Categories: There are no categories as yet. So If I want to see a list of birthdays, I cannot do that. Yes, I can search for them, but then I need to add the name of the category to the event title.

Things that I have not tried yet:
API: I donÂ’t know how good/bad the API is.

SMS notification: There is an option for SMS notification of event reminders. I have not tried that. There seems to be a list of US cell phone providers, donÂ’t know if there are any for other countries.

Calendar sharing: This is the biggest feature that I am waiting to use.

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