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Dates to remember - Google Calendar

Google in its bid for online dominance launched a calendar service late last week, writes Puneet Mehrotra.
By CYBERDUDE | Puneet Mehrotra | PTI
PUBLISHED ON APR 24, 2006 08:47 PM IST

In its quest for dominating the entire online user experience, probably days and dates were left out. Not any longer. Google in its bid for online dominance launched a calendar service late last week. It has opened up the beta for their long awaited calendar application over at calendar.google.com. The application has box calendar to keep track of all the events in your life, coordinate schedules with friends and family, and find new things to do.

A Calendar with a difference

Remember Hotmail, Yahoo mail, and hundreds of other email services had been there for years.  Then came Gmail and email was never the same again. The same is the case with Google Calendar. Online web-based calendars are nothing new. Infact there are already a few dozens of them on the web.

Google's closest competitor Yahoo has had one for years, as have a number of other sites. The problem with many of these calendars is the same that was with old generation email.  Most of them are rather slow and unresponsive. They all work in the  ancient way -- you click on a link and wait for the website to fetch the page from the server and then see it load in your browser.

A few weeks ago I had written on the magic of AJAX, that Google uses in Google Earth, Gmail and a host of other Google applications. Google Calendar too uses AJAX. Google Calendar is written in Asynchronous JavaScript and XML or AJAX.

For the end user this translates into a very user friendly application which makes it seem as if it was running lile a local application on your PC. The application has box calendar to keep track of all the events in your life, coordinate schedules with friends and family, and find new things to do. It's integrated with Gmail which makes the coordnation even more efficient.

Google Calendar supports the iCal standard so it cooperates with many other calendar applications, enabling you to easily get event data in and out. Also, webmasters can add customized Google Calendar event reminder buttons to their pages, letting visitors quickly add copies of events to their calendars.

It has other additional features like:

Seeing the big picture With Google Calendar, you can see your friends' and family's schedules right next to your own; quickly add events mentioned in Gmail conversations or saved in other calendar applications; and add other interesting events that you find online.

Sharing events and calendars You decide who can see your calendar and which details they can view. Planning an event? You can create invitations, send reminders and keep track of RSVPs right inside Google Calendar. Organizations can promote events, too.

Staying on schedule You can set up automatic event reminders, including SMS notifications, and instantly bring up anything on your calendar with the built-in search tool.

The Other Side of the Story

Google is on a major conquest these days aquiring new assets, applications week after week. Google introducing a calendar has to have another side to the story.  Well the other side of the story is Google's competitor Yahoo. The new service adds more power to Google in terms of online dominance and owning the user experience. Yahoo has had a calendar service for almost 8 years now. Late last year it acquired Upcoming.org, an event planning site. Google calendar is both a personal productivity tool and a social networking tool because it allows you to maintain your own schedule as well as events for groups of people. This feature also helps the company take on Evite.com, the online invitation service owned by InterActiveCorp.

The last word

Google Calendar is an awesome application for mapping and managing your online schedules, events in your life, coordinate schedules with friends and family. The application is really simple and is very easy to use. The speed is awesome. Yahoo, MSN, and calendars by  dozens other sites are aeons away. Kudos to Google to an absolutely awesome application.

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist at www.cyberzest.com and edits www.thebusinessedition.com you can email him on puneet@cyberzest.com

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