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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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sage muzzle

Google Calendar is here!

I've been waiting for this...

Click the image for a full-size screenshot or
go to the Google Calendar Start Page

On wickenden's reco, I started using Upcoming.org's online calendar service, but although I really dug the RSS feed of my schedule (which I could slip oh-so-easily onto my NetVibes start page (NetVibes was also a great tip from wickenden, and it's a service which I love more than words can say -- especially since they added tabbed pages this week)), I found Upcoming.org's usability to be poor. Takes too long to create appointment entries and there's no feature to schedule recurring tasks at all.

Google Calendar solves all that with a super intuitive "Quick Add" entry field that parses a simple sentence into an event. Type "Lunch meeting with Don on Apr 30 from 12:00-14:00 at Salvatore's" and it creates an appointment for exactly that date and time and puts "Salvatore's" into the location field. Reminders can be sent by e-mail, SMS or phone, and the nifty "Agenda" view displays all of your upcoming appointments (the Agenda can also be mailed to you each morning at 5 AM if you like). It's beautiful! The GUI is also à la Gmail and integrates nicely into the whole deal.

If Google adds a decent project/task management/scheduling component to this and then rolls out a full release of Writely (the free, web-based document editing tool which Google recently bought) and then adds a simple spreadsheet app that covers the most common functions used by most folks, then we'll finally have a possible choice to migrate from MS Office for a fully-integrated productivity app. I'm very impressed, and very happy.

After using Google Calendar for a half-hour, I already have a hit list of usability improvements they could make, but knowing from my experience with Gmail how long it takes those suggestions to get implemented, I won't waste much time on that for now. I sure wish I could work on a usability team for Google Labs, though. I know I could help improve their interfaces and features really quickly.