Richard tells me to explain my view on Google Calendar

Richard Brownell had a good point in my comments a few minutes ago:

“Robert. Maybe I’m being greedy, but could you let us loyal readers know what is missing from Google Calendar? I don’t use it (though I have toyed with it), but I’d like to know what Outlook does better. If I just wanted to hear somebody say they “hate hate hate” something, I’d read a livejournal or a myspace blog ;)

Someone on the Google Calendar team just wrote me and asked the same thing.

Sometimes I forget that people are actually reading my ranting and expect more than just “I hate it.”

So, let’s dig in. First, I have to explain my biases. I’ve been using Microsoft Outlook since it was Microsoft Mail and Schedule Plus. Funny story, if you work inside Microsoft and you want to schedule someone for a meeting you say “I’ll S+ you” not “I’ll Outlook you.” Now you know where the “S+” lingo came from.

That, alone, demonstrates the problem that the Google Calendar team is up against: human behavior. We hate changing, particularly something that is used so often as a calendar app (I use it CONSTANTLY).

That’s another bias. My calendar has to be available and trustworthy. Everywhere. Not just when I’m hooked up to the Internet. Outlook is. If my computer stops working my SmartPhone still has my calendar. If my computer isn’t on wifi or I’m too lazy to plug in my Verizon card Outlook still has my calendar.

So, I’m biased against Google from the start. Sorry, but I am. And most normal non-geek people will be too. I watch how people use computers in airports and Outlook is the most used app that I see.

OK, now that you know my bias, there’s a few other things I’ve found.

1) In Outlook my email and my calendar are integrated. Here’s something I learned long ago. If you send me an email saying “can we meet for breakfast tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Ritz in Half Moon Bay” I can just drag that email to my calendar button in Outlook and it’ll add a calendar item automatically. In Google’s system? I haven’t figured out how to do something like that, so I’ll need to copy the email from Gmail or from Outlook and then paste it into Google Calendar. Outlook is simpler.

2) Enterprise Contact management. When I got to Microsoft every single employee was autoloaded into Outlook thanks to Exchange. I just typed “Bill Gates” into Outlook, hit Alt-K to parse it into an email address (if he no longer worked there it wouldn’t parse, so I’d know whether or not it’d work), and away we went.

3) Scheduling coworkers for a meeting. OK, I want to meet with John Furrier on Monday at 10 a.m. So, I add john@podtech.net into Google Calendar’s “create event” page (I clicked on “create event” to get there). But where the hell is his calendar? Oh, I have to click on a separate “manage calendar” and look up his calendar separately. In Outlook it just shows me under scheduling tab whether or not he’s available for a meeting or not (again, need Exchange for this to work, but most companies have that, all three of my prior companies had it).

4) Google tries to be too smart. I accidentaly click on the calendar somewhere and it assumes I want to create an event so it pops up a dialog. Aarrgghh. On the other hand, when you get used to this it makes it easier to create an event than the Outlook model of click, drag, right-click and choose “New Appointment.”

I’ll do some more thinking about this as I use it more over the next weeks (this was really my first full-time week using it) and see how my opinion changes.

One thing that’ll dramatically change it? When my Mac arrives (I’ve bought it, but it hasn’t arrived yet). Working cross-platform will probably frustrate me greatly which will swing me back to Google since that should work the same on both Mac and Windows.

Another thing that is great about Google Calendar? It’s free and usable by anyone. Outlook and Exchange are not things you get for free.

What about you? What do you like or hate about Google Calendar?

What would you like to see in future Google Calendars?

Comments

  1. Regarding the email+calendar integration thing, outlook is using iCal – just pull out an appointment item from your outlook and look at its source, it is an email with iCal info. So for gCalendar to integerate it, gCalendar just need to interprete the iCal data, which is not hard at all.

    What google can do, but does not disclose from its interface, is that to map the appointment location as well.

    BTW pls don’t look at my blog unless you read Chinese. :P

  2. Regarding the email+calendar integration thing, outlook is using iCal – just pull out an appointment item from your outlook and look at its source, it is an email with iCal info. So for gCalendar to integerate it, gCalendar just need to interprete the iCal data, which is not hard at all.

    What google can do, but does not disclose from its interface, is that to map the appointment location as well.

    BTW pls don’t look at my blog unless you read Chinese. :P

  3. From the “not too wayback machine”:

    It’s ironic that one of Outlook’s key features over Google is the offline story (relatively recent feature that shipped in Outlook 2003). For years, the Outlook and Hotmail teams were trying to internally kill off Outlook Express (OE). Neither had the offline story that OE did at the time and IIRC the teams weren’t too interested in this feature until the wireless was installed on campus and changing hotspots was a nightmare. OE had almost 3x the use in Japan specifically for the offline story (bandwidth costs were high at the time)… and OE’s offline story turned out to be one of the the key reasons why OE lived on in the absence of offline support in Outlook.

    thinking about either MS or Google makes whats left of my brain hurt

    Booger

  4. From the “not too wayback machine”:

    It’s ironic that one of Outlook’s key features over Google is the offline story (relatively recent feature that shipped in Outlook 2003). For years, the Outlook and Hotmail teams were trying to internally kill off Outlook Express (OE). Neither had the offline story that OE did at the time and IIRC the teams weren’t too interested in this feature until the wireless was installed on campus and changing hotspots was a nightmare. OE had almost 3x the use in Japan specifically for the offline story (bandwidth costs were high at the time)… and OE’s offline story turned out to be one of the the key reasons why OE lived on in the absence of offline support in Outlook.

    thinking about either MS or Google makes whats left of my brain hurt

    Booger

  5. I’m with you all the way.

    The problem with these types of apps, and I really love them all in concept the execution that it depends on my having web access – as you say.

    And, honestly, Outlook is simply more robust – and it’s integration with Onenote being a HUGE thing for me, it simply can’t be beat.

    I played with a mac a few weeks ago, I admit to loving it more than I thought I would – but Entourage is not Outlook (though the Project feature is genius) and there is nothing like OneNote.

    I think the tech is moving in the right direction, though, and as being “offlne” becomes more and more rare maybe this technology will deserve another look.

  6. I’m with you all the way.

    The problem with these types of apps, and I really love them all in concept the execution that it depends on my having web access – as you say.

    And, honestly, Outlook is simply more robust – and it’s integration with Onenote being a HUGE thing for me, it simply can’t be beat.

    I played with a mac a few weeks ago, I admit to loving it more than I thought I would – but Entourage is not Outlook (though the Project feature is genius) and there is nothing like OneNote.

    I think the tech is moving in the right direction, though, and as being “offlne” becomes more and more rare maybe this technology will deserve another look.

  7. I’m with you, I love the Exchange Calendar. However for the family I share a calendar at Google that bothers me! I prefer Kiko.com But looks like Google will be around longer than Kikos

  8. I’m with you, I love the Exchange Calendar. However for the family I share a calendar at Google that bothers me! I prefer Kiko.com But looks like Google will be around longer than Kikos

  9. [...] Ever since the Kiko was put on ebay and Dharmesh Shah wrote about the incident. Parties from Paul Graham who was invovled in funding through Y Combinator to David from 37Signals are talking about it. In this instance i like the insight provided by David No. Don’t run, don’t hide. Be different. You can’t outdo Google by trying to match them point-by-point, but you don’t have to. There are other, better ways to fight. Compete differently.. Interestingly, Scoble also talked about the limitations of  Google Calender and I kind of agree with him because it is so easy in outlook and it takes a while to figure it out in Google calender. We might see more on this in the coming days but I agree with Paul that the days of Web 2.0 are not over. [...]

  10. Personally, I could never stand Outlook. Also, it’s reputation for having security glitches has made me a little leery of it as a whole. I can see how it’d be useful in the context of exchange, but for my personal calendaring I use the Mozilla Sunbird Alpha.

    I agree with all your points about why on-system calendars are better, but I have an additional reason for not using Google Calendar.

    Call me paranoid, but I’ve never really liked the idea of having my agenda stored on a publicly accessible server like at Google. I can live with my email being stored on GMail – but my daily schedule is a whole ‘nother ball game. Mostly because I use my calendar for just that – my daily schedule. If my computer crashes I can restore from my weekly backups. If Google’s server crashes then I’ll be lucky to get my data back because they don’t guarantee the integrity of my data.

    I do use Google Calendar for coordinating events that others need easy access to, and it works great for that. I don’t think it replaces a calendaring app on the PC though. AJAX can only do so much.

  11. Personally, I could never stand Outlook. Also, it’s reputation for having security glitches has made me a little leery of it as a whole. I can see how it’d be useful in the context of exchange, but for my personal calendaring I use the Mozilla Sunbird Alpha.

    I agree with all your points about why on-system calendars are better, but I have an additional reason for not using Google Calendar.

    Call me paranoid, but I’ve never really liked the idea of having my agenda stored on a publicly accessible server like at Google. I can live with my email being stored on GMail – but my daily schedule is a whole ‘nother ball game. Mostly because I use my calendar for just that – my daily schedule. If my computer crashes I can restore from my weekly backups. If Google’s server crashes then I’ll be lucky to get my data back because they don’t guarantee the integrity of my data.

    I do use Google Calendar for coordinating events that others need easy access to, and it works great for that. I don’t think it replaces a calendaring app on the PC though. AJAX can only do so much.

  12. 1. Regarding old habits being tough to break: eventually you’ll probably realize that the value you get from changing is greater than the cost of changing and you’ll change. It happened to me with my real official switch to mac, and I’m sure it’ll happen to you.

    2. Regarding syncing with offline: on the contrary, gcalendar syncs with iCal (if you’re trying to figure out how to pull your calendar data out take a look at this: http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=37111&topic=8566) iCal is great for everything I’ve ever needed to do offline. Oh, and I have a PocketPC/smartphone, and there is this neat little ActiveSync replacement for the mac called “PocketMac Pro” (here’s a great review: http://maczealots.com/reviews/pocketmac/). Why do I mention this? Because it syncs iCal with the calendar in my PocketPC (it also does iPhoto, address book, and all the other goodies!)

    3. Email + Calendar integration: this is getting better with gmail + gcalendar by the month. Take a look at this post for some of the details: http://reblogger.wordpress.com/2006/04/24/gcalendar-gmail-search-new-functionality/

    4. enterprise contact management — gmail remembers who you sent stuff to, and who sent stuff to you. it remembers that, _and_ context, so when you pull up an old email, you get the entire thread right there and then. I don’t know about you, but I’m subscribed to a whole bunch of mailing lists and I extensively use gmail’s filtering and labels features. It’s gotten to a point where one of my “actions” for certain classes of work Email (that I get via Thunderbird+IMAP) is to forward to my gmail account at myname+some_special_action_label@gmail.com — I’ve learned to love this feature as it’s really changed the way I work, for the better.

    5. seeing other people’s calendar use case: I’m not completely sure on the details here, but I have “intersection” calendars set up with people I meet with often. Admittedly I haven’t used them much (yet) — in both the case of gcalendar and exchange, both people have to be using the system, but at least gcalendar is more platform agnostic.

    cheers,
    bosko

  13. 1. Regarding old habits being tough to break: eventually you’ll probably realize that the value you get from changing is greater than the cost of changing and you’ll change. It happened to me with my real official switch to mac, and I’m sure it’ll happen to you.

    2. Regarding syncing with offline: on the contrary, gcalendar syncs with iCal (if you’re trying to figure out how to pull your calendar data out take a look at this: http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=37111&topic=8566) iCal is great for everything I’ve ever needed to do offline. Oh, and I have a PocketPC/smartphone, and there is this neat little ActiveSync replacement for the mac called “PocketMac Pro” (here’s a great review: http://maczealots.com/reviews/pocketmac/). Why do I mention this? Because it syncs iCal with the calendar in my PocketPC (it also does iPhoto, address book, and all the other goodies!)

    3. Email + Calendar integration: this is getting better with gmail + gcalendar by the month. Take a look at this post for some of the details: http://reblogger.wordpress.com/2006/04/24/gcalendar-gmail-search-new-functionality/

    4. enterprise contact management — gmail remembers who you sent stuff to, and who sent stuff to you. it remembers that, _and_ context, so when you pull up an old email, you get the entire thread right there and then. I don’t know about you, but I’m subscribed to a whole bunch of mailing lists and I extensively use gmail’s filtering and labels features. It’s gotten to a point where one of my “actions” for certain classes of work Email (that I get via Thunderbird+IMAP) is to forward to my gmail account at myname+some_special_action_label@gmail.com — I’ve learned to love this feature as it’s really changed the way I work, for the better.

    5. seeing other people’s calendar use case: I’m not completely sure on the details here, but I have “intersection” calendars set up with people I meet with often. Admittedly I haven’t used them much (yet) — in both the case of gcalendar and exchange, both people have to be using the system, but at least gcalendar is more platform agnostic.

    cheers,
    bosko

  14. Matt: I haven’t had a security problem with OUtlook in years. Actually, that’s another problem that Google will have — people will assume it’s not enterprise ready just because they haven’t tried the latest version.

  15. Matt: I haven’t had a security problem with OUtlook in years. Actually, that’s another problem that Google will have — people will assume it’s not enterprise ready just because they haven’t tried the latest version.

  16. Thanks for the response Robert! I’m somewhat a calendar geek. At work I use Lotus Notes because that’s what we use. But at home I mainly use iCal on my iMac. It’s basically everything I need. When you get your Mac, you might actually want to set it up where iCal subscribes to your Google Calendar. That way you can get close to the best of both worlds where you have your calendar/email offline and online. It’s worth trying out anyway.

  17. Thanks for the response Robert! I’m somewhat a calendar geek. At work I use Lotus Notes because that’s what we use. But at home I mainly use iCal on my iMac. It’s basically everything I need. When you get your Mac, you might actually want to set it up where iCal subscribes to your Google Calendar. That way you can get close to the best of both worlds where you have your calendar/email offline and online. It’s worth trying out anyway.

  18. Outlook integration with my smart phone is a must. So far, only Outlook does that. I don’t have a preference one way or another but… and it’s a big one….when I troll through my contacts, all 429 of them, I only know of 6 that have GMail addresses. Now, I’m sure more have gmail than I’ve discovered but 6 or 429. Maybe I should start dolling out gmail invites or take the Plaxo plunge and get updates.

  19. Outlook integration with my smart phone is a must. So far, only Outlook does that. I don’t have a preference one way or another but… and it’s a big one….when I troll through my contacts, all 429 of them, I only know of 6 that have GMail addresses. Now, I’m sure more have gmail than I’ve discovered but 6 or 429. Maybe I should start dolling out gmail invites or take the Plaxo plunge and get updates.

  20. You’re actually stating two things indirectly:

    First – Exchange-based email is still a “killer-app” much bigger than all the new-fangled Web 2.0 stuff. (Outlook Web Access pretty much invented AJAX many years, right?)

    The seamless integration between mail, calendar, contacts, et. al. is why Exchange is dominant in the corporate world and now moving into the small business and personal markets also.

    Note: Anyone can get these features by using “hosted exchange”. Even a single mailbox is doable – you don’t have to be a large corporate to have all the benefits of a fully Exchange-enabled Outlook. (With the recent “Direct Push” support and the new Windows Mobile devices like Sprint PPC-6700, Treo 700W, and Motorola Q, you can have Blackberry instant email without the $30/month Blackberry fees too!)

    Second – and I’m surprised you aren’t screaming this louder – the reason you like Outlook/Exchange instead of Google, is because in the real world everyone works both online and offline and that is NEVER going to change. No matter how much WiFi, 3G, and/or WiMax succeed, we will always have needs and want to work both offline and online.

    “Occasionally connected” is the killer STRATEGIC advantage that Microsoft has over not just Google, but all the web-based (both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0) services.

    Using thick client apps, smartphones, pda’s, terminals seamlessly with web-based “me-too” Windows Live (and maybe even “me-better” in some cases) web services is the “moat” that will surround and conquer Google and anyone else that is web-only.

    It’s no surprise that Google is buying dark fiber, building their own data centers, and beyond playing with Muni Wifi in Mt. View rumored to be perhaps considering becoming a national/international ISP. When your entire strategy requires constant connectivity, your might think your best strategic protection to become the connectivity solution too.

  21. You’re actually stating two things indirectly:

    First – Exchange-based email is still a “killer-app” much bigger than all the new-fangled Web 2.0 stuff. (Outlook Web Access pretty much invented AJAX many years, right?)

    The seamless integration between mail, calendar, contacts, et. al. is why Exchange is dominant in the corporate world and now moving into the small business and personal markets also.

    Note: Anyone can get these features by using “hosted exchange”. Even a single mailbox is doable – you don’t have to be a large corporate to have all the benefits of a fully Exchange-enabled Outlook. (With the recent “Direct Push” support and the new Windows Mobile devices like Sprint PPC-6700, Treo 700W, and Motorola Q, you can have Blackberry instant email without the $30/month Blackberry fees too!)

    Second – and I’m surprised you aren’t screaming this louder – the reason you like Outlook/Exchange instead of Google, is because in the real world everyone works both online and offline and that is NEVER going to change. No matter how much WiFi, 3G, and/or WiMax succeed, we will always have needs and want to work both offline and online.

    “Occasionally connected” is the killer STRATEGIC advantage that Microsoft has over not just Google, but all the web-based (both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0) services.

    Using thick client apps, smartphones, pda’s, terminals seamlessly with web-based “me-too” Windows Live (and maybe even “me-better” in some cases) web services is the “moat” that will surround and conquer Google and anyone else that is web-only.

    It’s no surprise that Google is buying dark fiber, building their own data centers, and beyond playing with Muni Wifi in Mt. View rumored to be perhaps considering becoming a national/international ISP. When your entire strategy requires constant connectivity, your might think your best strategic protection to become the connectivity solution too.

  22. Robert,

    I agree with that pretty much 100%. I’d add a fifth reason too: as you said it “where the hell is his calendar?”. In order for it to work, you and the people you want to schedule with all have to be on Google Calendar. And that is (a) something that is not very scalable and (b) is not really a feasible long term solution and (c) is a slippery slope for business users.

    The fact is, there are places that don’t have calendaring set up, especially where it is not a natural component of system and is especially seen in organisations where the email system is a big robust (usually Solaris or Unix) IMAP system. The education sector especially falls into this area.

    Its a slippery slope because all these web services make up a tightly knit ecosystem and once all the people you need are on Google Calendar, then to invite people to meetings you send them invites to GMail accounts, and then its easier to talk over Google Talk, and then collaborate that way. Sooner or later, you are then throwing potentially confidential business data backwards and forwards over Google Talk or, worst of all, storing it on GDrive. And that is a very real business risk.

    This is not an anti-Web-2.0 thing but a wake up call to businesses and the systems admins and systems architects there that they need to change the way they think/work.

    Without wishing to promote my blog (its only interesting for IT Professionals really), I blogged about it here: http://in-cider.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1F17474AB1F2CE52!407.entry

  23. Robert,

    I agree with that pretty much 100%. I’d add a fifth reason too: as you said it “where the hell is his calendar?”. In order for it to work, you and the people you want to schedule with all have to be on Google Calendar. And that is (a) something that is not very scalable and (b) is not really a feasible long term solution and (c) is a slippery slope for business users.

    The fact is, there are places that don’t have calendaring set up, especially where it is not a natural component of system and is especially seen in organisations where the email system is a big robust (usually Solaris or Unix) IMAP system. The education sector especially falls into this area.

    Its a slippery slope because all these web services make up a tightly knit ecosystem and once all the people you need are on Google Calendar, then to invite people to meetings you send them invites to GMail accounts, and then its easier to talk over Google Talk, and then collaborate that way. Sooner or later, you are then throwing potentially confidential business data backwards and forwards over Google Talk or, worst of all, storing it on GDrive. And that is a very real business risk.

    This is not an anti-Web-2.0 thing but a wake up call to businesses and the systems admins and systems architects there that they need to change the way they think/work.

    Without wishing to promote my blog (its only interesting for IT Professionals really), I blogged about it here: http://in-cider.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1F17474AB1F2CE52!407.entry

  24. Oh, and one more thing,

    You’ll do just fine on your Mac using Entourage 2004. It’s fully compatible with Exchange so your can sync your mail, calendar, and contacts no problem.

    (you also don’t have to buy it; Microsoft provides a free license to Entourage and Outlook 2003 for every hosted email user — see your service provider for details.)

  25. Oh, and one more thing,

    You’ll do just fine on your Mac using Entourage 2004. It’s fully compatible with Exchange so your can sync your mail, calendar, and contacts no problem.

    (you also don’t have to buy it; Microsoft provides a free license to Entourage and Outlook 2003 for every hosted email user — see your service provider for details.)

  26. No one really has talked about security. But with outlook/exchange combo, my data is stored in my network.

    What should ppl be worried about who has access to read my Gmail, Gtalk, Google Calendar, etc.

    Google most likely has someone going over everyone’s stuff, with their search tools, looking for anything that can give them a competitive edge.

    They would never admit to it.

    But what if someone internally at Google is a bad apple and does that, my point is your data isn’t safe when it’s on someone else’s server.

    And if/when the gov’t decides to get into that info, you have no way of stopping them.

    -AI

  27. No one really has talked about security. But with outlook/exchange combo, my data is stored in my network.

    What should ppl be worried about who has access to read my Gmail, Gtalk, Google Calendar, etc.

    Google most likely has someone going over everyone’s stuff, with their search tools, looking for anything that can give them a competitive edge.

    They would never admit to it.

    But what if someone internally at Google is a bad apple and does that, my point is your data isn’t safe when it’s on someone else’s server.

    And if/when the gov’t decides to get into that info, you have no way of stopping them.

    -AI

  28. So, skimming the comments, that’s

    5) You can work offline in Outlook.

    6) Your data isn’t saved on a Google server. (Possibly a concern if you are creating appointments like, “Bring ‘sports beverage’ to Rashid and Abdullah at Heathrow”)

    7) Google Calendar doesn’t work with IE 7. (Helloooo…)

    There is stuff that is possible to do in Google Calendar but which is incredibly lame compared to Outlook. For example, you can “view” your Google Calendar using a mobile phone, but you have to send SMS messages like “next” to view the next appointment. And the data is only available for the next 24 hours’ worth of appointments.

    Compare that to Outlook and Exchange. I create an appointment in Outlook and it shows up on my phone without doing a thing. Boom. No SMS, no navigating with text messages, no inability to see what’s coming up next week.

    You can subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal, Windows Calendar or Outlook 2007, but isn’t it read-only in those applications? How useful is that?

    There’s ways to save and import and export things, but it’s a bunch of crazy limitations and third-party apps. YES you can go from iCal or Windows Calendar to Google Calendar. Just set up a WebDAV server, publish to that, subscribe to your published calendar in Google Calendar, and you’re done. Oh, I forgot to mention you can’t actually edit that calendar from Google Calendar…

    The Help text for Google Calendar doesn’t inspire confidence, either:

    You may receive a 500 error when importing events from iCal or CSV files that contain a large amount of data. If you receive this error, wait for five to ten minutes with your browser window open and then close your browser. Next, open your browser and sign into your Google Calendar to see if your events were imported.

    I keep receiving repeated SMS messages from Google Calendar. Help!

    Occasionally, if the communication between your mobile device and your mobile providers doesn’t go smoothly, you may receive duplicate SMS message notifications. When this occurs, just turn your mobile device off and on a couple of times, and see if that makes a difference.

    Why am I receiving a corrupted screen on Google Calendar?

    If you’re receiving a corrupted screen while accessing Google Calendar, please clear your browser’s cache, sign out of Google Calendar, close your browser, and restart your browser. In some cases, it may be necessary to clear your cache more than once.

    Ok, ok, NO product is perfect, but turn your device off and on a couple of times, see if that makes a difference? Clear your cache more than once? Why don’t they call it Voodoo Calendar? “Try sacrificing a chicken over your keyboard a couple of times. See if that makes a difference.”

    My favorite is “wait for five to ten minutes with your browser window open.” (I assume standing with your d–k in your hands is optional…)

  29. So, skimming the comments, that’s

    5) You can work offline in Outlook.

    6) Your data isn’t saved on a Google server. (Possibly a concern if you are creating appointments like, “Bring ‘sports beverage’ to Rashid and Abdullah at Heathrow”)

    7) Google Calendar doesn’t work with IE 7. (Helloooo…)

    There is stuff that is possible to do in Google Calendar but which is incredibly lame compared to Outlook. For example, you can “view” your Google Calendar using a mobile phone, but you have to send SMS messages like “next” to view the next appointment. And the data is only available for the next 24 hours’ worth of appointments.

    Compare that to Outlook and Exchange. I create an appointment in Outlook and it shows up on my phone without doing a thing. Boom. No SMS, no navigating with text messages, no inability to see what’s coming up next week.

    You can subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal, Windows Calendar or Outlook 2007, but isn’t it read-only in those applications? How useful is that?

    There’s ways to save and import and export things, but it’s a bunch of crazy limitations and third-party apps. YES you can go from iCal or Windows Calendar to Google Calendar. Just set up a WebDAV server, publish to that, subscribe to your published calendar in Google Calendar, and you’re done. Oh, I forgot to mention you can’t actually edit that calendar from Google Calendar…

    The Help text for Google Calendar doesn’t inspire confidence, either:

    You may receive a 500 error when importing events from iCal or CSV files that contain a large amount of data. If you receive this error, wait for five to ten minutes with your browser window open and then close your browser. Next, open your browser and sign into your Google Calendar to see if your events were imported.

    I keep receiving repeated SMS messages from Google Calendar. Help!

    Occasionally, if the communication between your mobile device and your mobile providers doesn’t go smoothly, you may receive duplicate SMS message notifications. When this occurs, just turn your mobile device off and on a couple of times, and see if that makes a difference.

    Why am I receiving a corrupted screen on Google Calendar?

    If you’re receiving a corrupted screen while accessing Google Calendar, please clear your browser’s cache, sign out of Google Calendar, close your browser, and restart your browser. In some cases, it may be necessary to clear your cache more than once.

    Ok, ok, NO product is perfect, but turn your device off and on a couple of times, see if that makes a difference? Clear your cache more than once? Why don’t they call it Voodoo Calendar? “Try sacrificing a chicken over your keyboard a couple of times. See if that makes a difference.”

    My favorite is “wait for five to ten minutes with your browser window open.” (I assume standing with your d–k in your hands is optional…)

  30. One small correction in your history lesson. MS Mail and Schedule+ were not precursors to Outook. Having been a Network Courier user, then an MS Mail user (due to the acquisition of Network Courier by Microsoft), then an Exchange 4.0 early adopter, Exchange had its own email client that shipped with Exchange 4.0. Schedule+ was a separate product. Outlook was bascially developed from the ground up in Office. At one time Exchange beta users were choosing between the Exchange mail client and Outlook. So, technically you were NOT using Outlook when is was MS Mail.

  31. One small correction in your history lesson. MS Mail and Schedule+ were not precursors to Outook. Having been a Network Courier user, then an MS Mail user (due to the acquisition of Network Courier by Microsoft), then an Exchange 4.0 early adopter, Exchange had its own email client that shipped with Exchange 4.0. Schedule+ was a separate product. Outlook was bascially developed from the ground up in Office. At one time Exchange beta users were choosing between the Exchange mail client and Outlook. So, technically you were NOT using Outlook when is was MS Mail.

  32. I have to agree, that the calendar is a significant piece of software that is used for work, home, and play. As I get older, I find myself using Outlook to not only struture my work, but also my personal life. With this, a calendar must be available on and off line, any device that I use, (phone, laptop, computer, whatever).
    I should be able to share my calendar and/or hide all or parts of it. It has to be attached to any e-mail system that I have (I currently have 4 e-mails addresses).
    This is a short list but I think it covers the basics. Software that is used needs to evolve and take advantage of all technologies available.

  33. I have to agree, that the calendar is a significant piece of software that is used for work, home, and play. As I get older, I find myself using Outlook to not only struture my work, but also my personal life. With this, a calendar must be available on and off line, any device that I use, (phone, laptop, computer, whatever).
    I should be able to share my calendar and/or hide all or parts of it. It has to be attached to any e-mail system that I have (I currently have 4 e-mails addresses).
    This is a short list but I think it covers the basics. Software that is used needs to evolve and take advantage of all technologies available.

  34. synch your phone with iCal on the Mac and with Outlook on the PC, and then synch iCal with Google Calendar–use scripts to automate it.

    I actually do this to merge my consulting side biz (use my mac) with my family calendar (google) and my work calendar (enterprise exchange via my Thinkpad).

    It sounds complicated, but once it’s set up, I synch once every day, sometimes every other day (again most of it is automated, so it’s just a matter of remembering to make the blue tooth or USB connection).

    Not sure if it will work with your phone though (which is the missing link between the Mac and PC, and thus between Outlook and Google). I use a Treo, and it works great. But this is major geeking out on the calendars!

  35. synch your phone with iCal on the Mac and with Outlook on the PC, and then synch iCal with Google Calendar–use scripts to automate it.

    I actually do this to merge my consulting side biz (use my mac) with my family calendar (google) and my work calendar (enterprise exchange via my Thinkpad).

    It sounds complicated, but once it’s set up, I synch once every day, sometimes every other day (again most of it is automated, so it’s just a matter of remembering to make the blue tooth or USB connection).

    Not sure if it will work with your phone though (which is the missing link between the Mac and PC, and thus between Outlook and Google). I use a Treo, and it works great. But this is major geeking out on the calendars!

  36. Hi Robert,

    One quick point: If your event is only one day, you can just double-click on the day in Outlook to set it up. No click-drag-right-click needed. I’m not sure if you knew this and were just trying to make a point, or you didn’t know this.

    P.S. Hi Spiv! (Comment #11) *waves from across the datacenter*

  37. Hi Robert,

    One quick point: If your event is only one day, you can just double-click on the day in Outlook to set it up. No click-drag-right-click needed. I’m not sure if you knew this and were just trying to make a point, or you didn’t know this.

    P.S. Hi Spiv! (Comment #11) *waves from across the datacenter*

  38. Robert,

    My situation is that I am ‘forced’ to use Outlook at work (company policy) and choose to use Google Calendar at home. The benefits of Google calendar for me are that I can access it from anywhere with an internet connection and have the exact same user experience, I have always found it to be extremely quick.

    As for the ‘offline’ problem, I use iCal on my Mac with a read-only Calendar that is subscribed to my Google Calendar private ical feed. It is set to update daily, so if I really need to check my Calendar offline I can fire up iCal and voila. Another plus for this method is that iCal can automatically sync with my iPod – so if I really need to check my Calendar with no PC I can use my iPod. Awesome! Obviously the draw-back here is that it is read-only, but it meets my needs perfectly.

  39. Robert,

    My situation is that I am ‘forced’ to use Outlook at work (company policy) and choose to use Google Calendar at home. The benefits of Google calendar for me are that I can access it from anywhere with an internet connection and have the exact same user experience, I have always found it to be extremely quick.

    As for the ‘offline’ problem, I use iCal on my Mac with a read-only Calendar that is subscribed to my Google Calendar private ical feed. It is set to update daily, so if I really need to check my Calendar offline I can fire up iCal and voila. Another plus for this method is that iCal can automatically sync with my iPod – so if I really need to check my Calendar with no PC I can use my iPod. Awesome! Obviously the draw-back here is that it is read-only, but it meets my needs perfectly.

  40. Re: 1) Your Gmail must behave different than mine, because I get e-mails in both Norwegian and English, and whenever someone enters something like “monday 6 at 1800″ or “torsdag kl 2130″ (that’s thursday at 2130 in Norwegian), I get a box at the right of the message in Gmail saying:

    “Would you like to…

    Add to calender”

    etc.

    like this:

    See?

  41. Re: 1) Your Gmail must behave different than mine, because I get e-mails in both Norwegian and English, and whenever someone enters something like “monday 6 at 1800″ or “torsdag kl 2130″ (that’s thursday at 2130 in Norwegian), I get a box at the right of the message in Gmail saying:

    “Would you like to…

    Add to calender”

    etc.

    like this:

    See?

  42. Another point about Outlook calendar and the “click, drag, right-click and choose “New Appointment.”” bit, you only need to “click, drag and type” to create an appointment.
    Of course you still need to double click it to open it if you want to invite others for a meeting.

    Or just click the time and press ctrl-n

  43. Another point about Outlook calendar and the “click, drag, right-click and choose “New Appointment.”” bit, you only need to “click, drag and type” to create an appointment.
    Of course you still need to double click it to open it if you want to invite others for a meeting.

    Or just click the time and press ctrl-n

  44. 1) – It seems that gmail scans emails for street addresses and if one exists, it will display a link in the upper right side to “Map this address”.

    It would be nice to have a link that says “schedule a gCalendar event” from this email in that same area. That click would then bring up gCalendar with the contents of the email as comments and you’d only need to enter date/time/location info.

    I personally don’t see my company moving to a service like this but who knows. I also never thought we would buy a google search appliance either ;-)

    Also, I’m using Outlook 2007 Beta2 and really enjoy it.

  45. 1) – It seems that gmail scans emails for street addresses and if one exists, it will display a link in the upper right side to “Map this address”.

    It would be nice to have a link that says “schedule a gCalendar event” from this email in that same area. That click would then bring up gCalendar with the contents of the email as comments and you’d only need to enter date/time/location info.

    I personally don’t see my company moving to a service like this but who knows. I also never thought we would buy a google search appliance either ;-)

    Also, I’m using Outlook 2007 Beta2 and really enjoy it.

  46. the not available when i’m not online thing is really the only thing that turns me off. I have been an outlook user for about 5 years and i really liked making the switch.

    I guess if outlook would let you subscribe to an ical or xml calendar that would be the perfect situation.

  47. the not available when i’m not online thing is really the only thing that turns me off. I have been an outlook user for about 5 years and i really liked making the switch.

    I guess if outlook would let you subscribe to an ical or xml calendar that would be the perfect situation.

  48. I use Gcal all the time, and its become an integral part of my workflow. I subscribe to a total of 5 calendars, love the look and feel and its just a breeze to use. Sure there are a few features that I wish it had, but it will happen in time. Hopefully it won’t get too bloated.

    All important reminders are sent to me as text mails, so I don’t really miss not having an offline option. I do add an ical subscription from gcal to Mozilla calendar as a backup, but I have not looked at it in at least 2+ months.

  49. I use Gcal all the time, and its become an integral part of my workflow. I subscribe to a total of 5 calendars, love the look and feel and its just a breeze to use. Sure there are a few features that I wish it had, but it will happen in time. Hopefully it won’t get too bloated.

    All important reminders are sent to me as text mails, so I don’t really miss not having an offline option. I do add an ical subscription from gcal to Mozilla calendar as a backup, but I have not looked at it in at least 2+ months.

  50. [...] Scoble writes this piece about Google calendar. I totally agree. Until today I’m not clear how one could switch to an application that lives only online without any offline representation. Since I’m travelling a lot, these situations occur where I’m not online but need a bunch of applications: [...]

  51. I disagree with your assessment about Google. I use gmail and Google calendar and share my calendar with my partner and my family. I like it because I live in two different towns and regularly work on three computers, two PCs and a MAC.
    I can definitely take an email appointment and add it to Google calendar. And I like that it allows me to see my clients’ calendars, too.

    I wish it synced up to my Windows Mobile 5 device, but I it will soon. In the meantime, I have it fixed to send me reminders of my appointments as text messages. I admit Outlook is convenient, but change is good, my man.

  52. I disagree with your assessment about Google. I use gmail and Google calendar and share my calendar with my partner and my family. I like it because I live in two different towns and regularly work on three computers, two PCs and a MAC.
    I can definitely take an email appointment and add it to Google calendar. And I like that it allows me to see my clients’ calendars, too.

    I wish it synced up to my Windows Mobile 5 device, but I it will soon. In the meantime, I have it fixed to send me reminders of my appointments as text messages. I admit Outlook is convenient, but change is good, my man.

  53. Here are my comments on the issue.. #1 Google NEEDS to make native outlook integration. I know there are third party programs which allow Google Calendar to work in outlook, but its not easy for the average user to use.
    #2 I’m using Gmail for Domains, and my biggest fusteration is how every time a new email address is created, I have to manually go into each and every user account and add that user to “Manage Calendars” there needs to be an easy way to automatically do that.

  54. Here are my comments on the issue.. #1 Google NEEDS to make native outlook integration. I know there are third party programs which allow Google Calendar to work in outlook, but its not easy for the average user to use.
    #2 I’m using Gmail for Domains, and my biggest fusteration is how every time a new email address is created, I have to manually go into each and every user account and add that user to “Manage Calendars” there needs to be an easy way to automatically do that.

  55. [...] I love the Google Calendar – I’ve given up on iCal and switched to it for all my task management. This is mainly due to it’s ability to add calendar entries based on recognising English – like “Dinner at Suruchi 7pm Next Friday”. others are not so Keen, and Paul Scoble has written a post on what he finds wrong with it – much better than just saying that it’s rubbish. Sometimes I forget that people are actually reading my ranting and expect more than just “I hate it.” [...]

  56. I like Google Calendar because I’m not connected everywhere — no laptop. I can get to Google Calendar from home, work, library, etc., with no problems, though.

    It’s the same reason I use Bloglines instead of a fat client, and why I use the web interface to do my blog posts.

  57. I like Google Calendar because I’m not connected everywhere — no laptop. I can get to Google Calendar from home, work, library, etc., with no problems, though.

    It’s the same reason I use Bloglines instead of a fat client, and why I use the web interface to do my blog posts.

  58. Re #22: if you select an area on the calendar page and then double-click it, the time will be filled in on the form that comes up, too. I do this all of the time.

    And even though I don’t have Exchange (so I’m technically off-line all of the time, which I prefer), I love it when events provide calendar entries that I can open and they import into Outlook automatically.

  59. Re #22: if you select an area on the calendar page and then double-click it, the time will be filled in on the form that comes up, too. I do this all of the time.

    And even though I don’t have Exchange (so I’m technically off-line all of the time, which I prefer), I love it when events provide calendar entries that I can open and they import into Outlook automatically.

  60. Re #22: if you select an area on the calendar page and then right-click it for a new calendar item, the time will be filled in on the form that comes up, too. I do this all of the time.

    And even though I don’t have Exchange (so I’m technically off-line all of the time, which I prefer), I love it when events provide calendar entries that I can open and they import into Outlook automatically.

  61. Re #22: if you select an area on the calendar page and then right-click it for a new calendar item, the time will be filled in on the form that comes up, too. I do this all of the time.

    And even though I don’t have Exchange (so I’m technically off-line all of the time, which I prefer), I love it when events provide calendar entries that I can open and they import into Outlook automatically.

  62. I started using Google Calendar the last time my mac died. I was so frustrated about loosing the last weeks of data in iCal (since my backup) that I turned towards something which was online => available from home, from school, from my sister’s… I’m never very far from an internet connection if I have a computer.

    However… I’ve now gone lo-fi: I print out a paper planning for myself and write things in it with a pencil. I’m not in a corporate environment, my appointments are often made when I’m on the run, and my contacts don’t all use some piece of software or other that would allow me to deal with all of them easily (well… the closest thing is gmail, which brings me back towards gcal).

  63. I started using Google Calendar the last time my mac died. I was so frustrated about loosing the last weeks of data in iCal (since my backup) that I turned towards something which was online => available from home, from school, from my sister’s… I’m never very far from an internet connection if I have a computer.

    However… I’ve now gone lo-fi: I print out a paper planning for myself and write things in it with a pencil. I’m not in a corporate environment, my appointments are often made when I’m on the run, and my contacts don’t all use some piece of software or other that would allow me to deal with all of them easily (well… the closest thing is gmail, which brings me back towards gcal).