Google Calendar reviewed

I recently decided to re-visit the online calendar issues I wrote about previously. Since writing that piece, Bernard informed me of a site called iCal Exchange which allows publishing and subscribing of iCal calendars. This service was ok but I had connectivity issues with it from time to time plus I didn’t want to have to publish from all my machines, and then subscribe to them all to keep track of all my data! There had to be a better way.

Narendra from 30Boxes contacted me to tell me about their Import function which would, he said, allow me to import my data from iCal into 30Boxes. However when I tried it I was presented with a list of the over 300 items in my iCal export and asked to select all the items I wanted to import individually! This would have taken waaaaay too long so I didn’t bother (why couldn’t they have a simple Select All button on the Import page? How difficult would that be?).

So I decided to trial Google Calendar and I quite liked it.
Google Calendar

The Pros:

  • The interface is slick and extremely straightforward
  • The Quick add works brilliantly to simply add events
  • The sharing facility allows you to share your calendar with named individuals or to have it completely open. People can subscribe to your calendar using an RSS reader of an iCal compliant app.
  • The Import facility just works

The Cons

  • There are reminders on the events but they are not granular (i.e. you set a reminder time like 10 minutes before and you are alerted 10 minutes before every event!)
  • The biggest gripe I have with Google Calendar is that the Export facility is not obvious (you have to go into the Settings -> Calendars ->Sharing ->Calendar Details to find the subscription address to download your calendar via iCal or RSS!)

The reminders issue is trivial and I am sure one which Google will address in time. The fact that the Export facility is hard to find may turn people off using Google Calendar (for a while i didn’t think there was a way to Export from Google Calendar and this would have stopped me from using it). Other than that, Google Calendar is a great app – as long as you don’t mind Google knowing your every move, I strongly recommend it!

5 thoughts on “Google Calendar reviewed”

  1. This is the kind of information I need to encourage my community to see that relatively simple services lie at the heart of the business. Now where can I find a mashup that brings Google calendar together with JotSpot project management?

    This is much more than IT…architects, lawyers, accountants – anyone that needs to track time. And then onwards to a mashup into accounting systems that are RSS/XML based or what about loosely coupled to Sugar CRM?

    Pity the payroll agencies aren’t alive to this sort of extrapolated thinking?

  2. Calendar has a lot of faults, particular with regard to integration with things like Outlook and Thunderbird, but it’s not a bad first effort. Google is responsive to feedback in my experience, so… try feeding back.

    When Google released Calendar, I moved all my Google bookmarks into a single folder (called Goo!) on my toolbar. They really are mounting up!

  3. Like always google offers a good product with basics intact but other functionalities scattered, issues like integration with outlook and sms reminders for US only and no synhronisation with mobile devices. there are a few other services that are doing better in some ways, like zyb who have an calendar & phonebook sharing feature for many mobiles and the interface is simple like google. I just wonder why does google leaves things a little untidy???

  4. My gripes:

    1. You have to be connected to the Internet to use it. I am sorry, but sometimes I am not connected to the Internet (this is Ireland afterall!) and sometimes I want to create a task/calendar entry on ical/outlook whatever, and I cannot.

    Why? Because Google will not allow me to update my google calendar from anywhere else other than

    2. Why can’t Google turn off the “make my calendar public” feature by default.
    On a quick look around google calendars with a search term of “dublin ireland”, I managed to find:

    1. A guys name, address, and when he was going on holiday for two weeks
    2. A guys name, passport number, his flight confirmation number with Aer Lingus, the flight destination, origin, time, date of the flight.

    I have to say I firmly believe that Google don’t want to offer inbuilt privacy of users information.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong, but from the outset thats what it looks like to me.

    I’ll be sticking with ical and icalx for my calendaring.


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