Google has recently released another online tool, a web-based calendar, which has been causing a bit of a stir across the blogosphere. Having taken a look at it, I’d suggest that this buzz has good foundation: it seems like an excellent application of what can be achieved with modern browser technology.
I’ve got an online calendar of my own, which I developed myself and which Jane and I have been using for a couple of years now. It works well but I’m very tempted to migrate the data across to the Google one. Interestingly, they seem to have had several of the same ideas that I started with (eg. sharing a version of the calendar with appointments blocked out but giving no details away) but have implemented them smoothly whereas I didn’t manage to find the time to press on with it.
As well as saving me the time of building the same kind of things myself, the other aspect I find attractive is the social networking side. For example, I could create a calendar for my band, The Elusive Teeth, showing all of our gigs. That could be integrated into my personal calendar, making sure I don’t get double-booked, and also be shared on our website so that other Google Calendar users could include that set of dates in their own calendars. We could even use it to work out practises and potential gigs, marking times we’re available (on a private calendar just for band use) and then confirming events where the dates coincide. I can also think of similar applications for my church community.
At the moment I’m still playing around with the system to get its measure. A limiting factor for the uses I’m thinking of will be how many of the people I need to share dates with might actually sign up to use the system for themselves. However, I suspect that the next few weeks will see plenty more talk about this new release and some innovative applications that blend together what Google Calendar can do with disparate other information sources across the web. Exciting times!