May 4, 2006

Google Calendar

Google have continued their march to world domination with the release of yet another ‘have-to-use’ product called Google Calendar. As the name suggests, Google Calendar is meant to replace your desktop calendar application, like Outlook or iCal (if you are on a Mac). As you’d expect from Google they have built in tight integration with other Google products like Gmail and Search.

Creating an appointment in Google Calendar is easy, simply click on the time in any of the calendars views and enter the text. If you’d like to add more detail to the appointment click on the ‘edit event details’ link. You can add a location to your appointment and also add a more detailed description. Under the Options section you’ll also be able to set a reminder. Unlike Outlook on your PC Google can’t sound an alarm when an appointment occurs – instead Google Calendar sends you a notification via email. If you live in the US you can also specify to be alerted via SMS.

Google Calendar also lets you share calendars between groups. If you manage a soccer team for example, you can set a group calendar that the whole team can access. This technology isn’t new, but Google Calendar takes it a step forward by allowing multiple people to manage and edit the calendar.

Google also makes importing your existing calendar easy. Click on the ‘Settings’ link and select the ‘Import Calendar’ tab. You can import either an Outlook CSV file or an iCal file.

Before committing to using an online calendar you should be aware of a few limitations. Firstly, you’ll need network access to use it (if you have a slow or unreliable connection an online calendar may not be the right solution) and secondly if you use a PDA like a Palm or Windows ME device syncing isn’t supported yet.

Google Calendar is not the only on-line calendar application around but it is certainly one of the best. Before you commit to it, check out other similar products like Spongecell (www.spongecell.com), Kiko and Trumba.