April 12, 2006 9:00 PM PDT

Google unveils Web-based calendar app

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Google on Thursday unveiled a free Web-based calendar application that is expected to heat up competition with Yahoo and Microsoft.

The beta version of Google Calendar, which can be accessed without a Gmail account, enables users to search for and add events from within the program or through Web sites that use open standards for calendars. Such sites are invited to add Google Calendar buttons next to events they list.

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Video: Google wants to keep your calendar
CNET News.com's Elinor Mills looks at some features of Google Calendar.

Users of the new Google application can also access events from friends' shared calendars and import events from Microsoft Outlook. Once they add events, they can use a "Search My Calendars" searchbar to find them. Events can also be created by typing simple messages like "Lunch with Kate 11:30 a.m. Wednesday" in the program's "Quick Add" bar.

Taking a page from sites such as InterActiveCorp's Evite, Google also built invitation management into Google Calendar. Users can create event invitations to be sent to anyone with an e-mail account. They can also send event reminders via e-mail or cell phone text message, and keep track of RSVPs from within the program. People can see their schedules by day, week, month and four-day views, highlight any period from a monthly calendar for a customized view and display only certain events at a time on their calendar view.

The application interoperates with other calendaring programs that use Apple Computer's iCal or XML standards. In the coming months, Google Calendar will be able to synchronize with Outlook and mobile devices, Product Manager Carl Sjogreen said. The application works best with Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6 and higher, and with Firefox 1.07 and higher. Users must have JavaScript and cookies enabled, Google said.

Like it is doing with other applications, such as Google Local, the company is opening up the application programming interface so that outside developers can use it to build third-party programs that will work with Google Calendar data, Sjogreen said.

Several analysts said they were impressed with the product.

"Google, in the past six months or so, has put things out there that were good, but not the typical wow, and I think the Google Calendar has that," said Chris Sherman, executive editor of Search Engine Watch. "The interface is classic Google--clean, crisp and relatively uncluttered."

Privacy concerns should be quelled by Google Calendar's default settings, which designates all events in a person's calendar private unless the user makes them public, Sherman said. "The one down side to the program is, you have to be online when you use it," he added.

"I'm intrigued," Gartner analyst Allen Weiner said. "If it becomes successful, then it can also be the place to schedule a lot of content delivery. There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to go to your calendar and say 10 a.m. every morning, 'I would like to listen to a podcast'...and you listen to it through your calendar."

The major search and portal companies are in a race to offer the most useful Web-based applications to a growing Internet-savvy population that is increasingly moving its life off paper and onto the Web.

Microsoft is planning a major calendar upgrade for its Outlook 12 release later this year.

"The obvious competition (for Google Calendar) is Microsoft Outlook," Sherman said. "Microsoft recently purchased Groove Networks, which also has strong collaboration. Rumors are they've incorporated Groove-like features into the next version of Windows Vista. If that's true, this is kind of a pre-emptive strike."

Yahoo has said it is looking to integrate features from social-events calendaring site Upcoming.org--which it acquired last year--into Yahoo Calendar, the market-leading program in the United States, according to ComScore Media Metrix. Yahoo said it plans to open up the APIs for Yahoo Calendar, which integrates with e-mail and the company's instant-messaging service.

Last month, screenshots of Google Calendar leaked out. Rumors of the application's existence, however, have been around for at least a year.

Some Google watchers had expected Google to launch its calendaring application at a conference late last year, at which executives speaking on panels predicted that calendaring would be the next killer app for the Web.

See more CNET content tagged:
calendar, Groove Networks Inc., Google Inc., event, collaboration

32 comments

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Another non-Google Event
It is always interesting to see the hype around Google. Hotmail, Yahoo, and even AOL have had online calendars for 5+ years. Why is the Google Calendar interesting?

Right now, Google is a one trick pony with search. It is an insanely profitable trick, but still, just one source of revenue. GMail is a San Fran/Silicon Valley thing and hasn't penetrated. The desktop search and GTALK are flops. The sidebar is nowhere to be seen.

It is nice to see a web-based calendar. I much rather have a rich client application that has offline capability. A web-front-end is nice, but not the priority. Being able to store iCal files on a WebDAV server is much more interesting. Having Outlook interop and the new Windows Calendar interop would be what is needed. For mail and calendar they should just create an opaque store in the cloud. The web front end is nice, but only needed when someone is at an internet cafe. But, everyone is carrying laptops now so that is even uninteresting. I guess real sync to my Treo 650 or Windows Mobile device is more important. Also, supporting Nokia, Samsung and other devices is more interesting.

Nothing here. Move along... yet another non-Google event.
Posted by fiona_apple (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed
I was hoping for something more interesting. Automatic sync, mobile gateways, etc. Unless this is a very early step in a larger project I'm disappointed.
Posted by inthewoods (10 comments )
Link Flag
Disagree
Google has the attention of regular people, most of whom by the way don't walk around with a laptop. And even if they did, they aren't looking for offline access to their calendar. iCal files on a WebDAV server... are you serious? Do you think users of online calendaring users care about the underlying technology? They want to quickly get access the schedules of themselves, family and friends.

The interesting news here is that Google is opening the doors yet again for developers to latch on. Go Google! Sorry Microsoft, there's one less reason for me to use Outlook now.
Posted by waterloo_92 (4 comments )
Link Flag
Rather see better search results...
I would rather see Google work on what they do best, search.
Instead of spending time, capital and brain power doing what has
been done already, they should work on a way to categorized the
search results further. News and Local work somewhat. But what
about by date posted, blog, education, government, commerce,
etc. Now that would be interesting.
Posted by ca5ter (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Finally!
Title says it all. I've been waiting for a good, free calendar app for awhile. Outlook doesn't cut it when you want to access your calendar from the web.
Posted by nhandler (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Finally!
Title says it all. I've been waiting for a good, free calendar app for awhile. Outlook doesn't cut it when you want to access your calendar from the web.
Posted by nhandler (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It doesn't work
Ok, it's hanging after i submitted my timezone info. Nice buggy software there...concurrency issues?
Posted by microsoft slayer (174 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One stall and you blast it?
Works ok for me...its a BETA that was announced today...sheesh.
Hopefully will work with my older Palm device to get my calendar online.

Thanks Google. I like free.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Did not work for me either
I had the same problem. Well it is beta. Hope google is not learning from Microsoft!!!
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Link Flag
Who cares about another Calendar program!
Who cares about another Calendar program!
Specially one that does not add any new features!
Why is it that everything that Google does a news?
Why this incredible Hype by main stream media
about Google?
Is it because Cnet parent company has lots of
Google stocks or they have got marching order
from valley VCs and Investment Bankers to hype
Google more so they can dump their stock on the
people!

What I care about is a better search engine.
Not a search engine that enters business after business and does not innovate in regard to any of them. Please stop the Hype about Google, Yahoo and other Silicon valley VC funded companies.
Tell us about real news, that is companies that are really innovating and not just those that are VC funded or public.
Posted by Manfred Levy (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Link Flag
this IS news
This is news for me and my family. I was very excited to hear about the introduction. We will be using this app because it is free, easy, and it works well. I would not have known about google calendar as quickly without cnet's article. ...and bitterness will get you nowhere.
Posted by swesleyd (3 comments )
Link Flag
Makes my PC crash :(
It did not work for me either!
Another 1 hour wasted trying nothing new software from Google!
ooooh :(
Posted by Manfred Levy (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Always aplologizing for Google
I have noticed this person always aplologize for Google.
Must be either a Google stock holder, or click fraud webmaster or brain washed by Google media hype :(
Posted by Manfred Levy (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
About time
I've been waiting for this... I've used Yahoo's calendar since the beginning and really rely on it. I'd even have paid for it if their interface didn't suck. It's very 1997. The competition needs to realize that they have to keep up with Google's so-far unmatched ease of use.

For those who are having problems, remember, this is a beta. It works great for me. I'm about to erase that Yahoo calendar.
Posted by JoeCrow (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Another non-Google Event
You're awfully quick to use the word "everyone." I've used Web-based apps exclusively since 1995 to the extent possible, meaning for everything personal. I guess you're still writing and mailing checks for your bills?

As I said before, the usability of Google apps is light-years ahead of the other web competition, and you're not tethered to a desktop or some manual synchronization crap.

Contemporize!
Posted by JoeCrow (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
still behind yahoo
Yahoo has a full blown pim online. It's intergrated into their email offering so on top of getting your mail, you can add your appointments, todo list and notes all in one place and you can reach it from any internet connected pc or device. On top of that, they have intellisync, so you can sync it with your pda! What does google have? A calendar? Oooo, pretty!
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Link Flag
Where is the cohesion?
Seriously. Google has all these wonderful apps and is going ahead with new crap without fully integrating all these things together. Google needs to for a new division. Application integration planning and implementation because right now from where I'm sitting all they have are a bunch of apps that play well in some instances, not so much in others, and not at all in some cases.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed on that
Yep...
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
What google doesn't have...
... that Outlook does, is the ability to allow security add-ins that allow users to set encryption and/or access controls to their outbound email, such as Essential Taceo. Be wary of doing all your business via your free online Goggle account, real security is relatively lacking... more on Taceo Outlook add-in: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm</a>
Posted by 209979377489953107664053243186 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Go Google Go!!!
According to the market needs currently,Google is taking every possible right step- thanks to the wonderful world-wide support and stock holders :)

A Calendar and invitation management system is a great way to enhance the existing stuff.

-Siddharth parakh
Posted by siddharthbhai (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
No Safari Support--Yet
I love the clean look of Google products without having to endure blinky ads. My only sad face is having no support for Apple's Safari. But I'm sure that will come in time.
Posted by schneb (7 comments )
Link Flag
so sweet
I'm not a big-G employee, shareholder, tech-news sap, or MS hater. I just like really good software and services. Google has been kicking the pants off everyone else for stuff that I use everyday. I have talked my friends into gmail, maps.google, froogle, etc, etc. Now I finally have a simple but powerful calendar app I can share with my tech-using but non-programmer family. Hat's off, Google!
Posted by swesleyd (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
nothing special...
Google Calendar is nothing that hasnt already existed for months. They havent added anything new to the online calendar market. Companies such as 30boxes, HipCal, Kiko, and Spongecell have been offering all of the features that Gcal has for several months now, and in many cases even significant features that Google Calendar is missing. Its important to point out that the Heavy Gmail integration is not in fact even working yet, they havent bothered to flick that switch apparently.

Overall I am quite disappointed in the lack of any type of innovation on Googles part. They didnt even bother to borrow some of the best features of existing web calendars, they are just another one of the masses of options out there that is not very different than the competition.

The only reason people are excited about this is because its Google. Is it a good product? Sort of, its a half-baked product like everything else Google has been releasing lately.
Posted by xxdesmusxx (155 comments )
Reply Link Flag
google business model
detailed at
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blog.tallsails.com/2006/04/10/the-google-curves.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://blog.tallsails.com/2006/04/10/the-google-curves.aspx</a>
Posted by ntis (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
notes from Carl's presentation
I have notes from Carl's presentation here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.centernetworks.com/future-of-web-apps-carl-sjogreen" target="_newWindow">http://www.centernetworks.com/future-of-web-apps-carl-sjogreen</a>
Posted by centernetworks (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You can try
<a href="net-agenda.appspot.com"> this app</a>.

It is a web based calendar system where you can include your customer's agenda.
Posted by net-agenda (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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