Google Calendar revisited

When Google Calendar first rolled out, I took a look and was not overwhelmed. Now, I’ve had a chance to revisit and see a few improvements. First, one of my initial problems was that I couldn’t get to calendar from gmail. The code has now been added in the upper left corner to navigate between the two (or the google homepage, or their “other services”). This was missing when I first looked. I distinctly remember seeing it in one of the testing screenshots. Even immediately after I had started out with the Calendar, the link was still not there. I’m not sure when, but it’s there now. Good.

I didn’t notice at the time, but there is a print option which will generate a pdf file of the calendar being viewed. It looks as though it would be suitable for my purposes. I’ve also found a good Google Calendar Notifier Extension for Firefox that (as of version 2) has support for multiple calendars (nice to keep various things seperated into their own calendars in case you want to share one type of appointment and not another.) Anyway, the notifier gives you one click access to the calendar login, as well as showing how many events you have in the toolbar. It also should give notifications on upcoming events and looks fairly customizable.

Getting back to google calendar. There are nice recurrance options and I was able to put in most all of my near term calendar items manually with little trouble. One issue is that one item I went ahead and entered and set a recurrance, the item showed up as “still saving” after exiting and returning it was not there, so I remade it and all was well.

The fact that they’ve got xml feeds for the various calendars should help to make a variety of “offline” calendar sync/reminder tools for windows/mac/linux which will be nice. I hear there’s a plugin for google desktop for windows users which might be a useful tool for reminders. The biggest challange I see with an online calendar is dealing with those times when you can’t access it (offline PDA use/paper/daytimer/etc.) The speed is fairly reasonable. I remember once trying the old Yahoo calendar (before Web 2.0 and asynchronous javascript was widely used…) it was painful and I never used it more than once. Google’s Calendar I think could easily become a heavily used calendar for me.

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