Tag: 30boxes

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!

Why don't online calendar apps allow importing of existing calendars?

Word on the blogosphere is that Google are developing an online calendar application called CL2 – Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has pictures of the app here.

An online calendar is something I would find very useful – I have loads of information in my calendar on my desktop but I lose that when I go out an about with my laptop. I use Apple’s iCal as my calendar application but I don’t have a .Mac account so I can’t synch my Calendars across the two machines.

30boxes has a facility whereby I can add my appointment info into 30boxes and subscribe my iCal application to that – this is half of the solution I am looking for – this is ok for events moving forward but I have a good few recurring events set in iCal which I don’t want to add again. Also, I often look back over my calendar to see “when exactly did I have that meeting?”, etc. For these reasons, while it is a good start, 30boxes is seriously lacking by not having the ability to import an existing calendar.

I don’t know that Google’s calendar will have this functionality either – I don’t see it in any of the screenshots on TechCrunch but surely they have thought of it – I can’t be the only person to have this issue!