Google Calendar does for online calendaring (and calendaring in general) what Gmail did for e-mail. They revolutionized the ease and usefulness a calendar can have. It’s visually appealing, and simple to use. So what would make you want to use it?
Google Calendar features several ways to add events to your calendar. The most simple of which is ADD EVENT. From here you can simply just add the event with the details you want. You can also add repeat options for any occurrence of repeats. (Ex. every day, every 2 days, every 3rd Wednesday of the month. Every Tues and Weds of every two weeks, every year. ) You can set a location for the event in the way you would search for one on Google Maps. And it will give you a map link to that location. You can set up reminder options for events via e-mail, or SMS to your cell phone.
Google Calendar has the option for multiple calendars so if you wanted to keep your work life and personal life separated, you can. You can overlay both calendars with two different colors to see how they coincide.
A feature for those on the go is QUICK ADD. You simply type “Dinner tomorrow 7 PM at Mom’s House” or “Happy Fun Day March 16” and it’s there.
You can view your calendar just as you can in Outlook. By month, week, work week, next two weeks, etc. It also has drag and drop functionality for viewing, or moving events.
Now where Google Calendar really shines is the options you have for sharing your calendar with other applications and other people. You can share your calendar with anyone you’d like. You can make your calendar public, or private. You can also set admin rights on your calendar so to speak. If I would like my brother to see what I’m doing when and where, I can do that by adding his e-mail address for rights to view everything on my calendar. But say I have a friend who I want to know only when I’m available or busy, I can do that too. If you have a group you can set it up for multiple people to have the right to add or change events. But don’t get worried, all sharing features are off by default. The neat thing is you can overlay other (from other people or services i.e. Eventful, Upcoming) calendars on top of your own for comparison.
You can make your calendar public to everyone showing only your busy times and available times. You can also do this per calendar. So if you want people to know when you are working or not, you can make your work calendar public showing only busy and available, and leaving your private life calendar private. Does that make sense?
The other sharing feature of Google Calendar is the event invite option. Having a picnic in May? Just add the e-mail addresses of who you would like to invite. They don’t have to have Google Calendar in order to respond or comment on the event page. They can respond to their attendance as “Yes, no, and even maybe”. If they do have Google Calendar they can add the event to their calendar.
The other goodies of Google Calendar include, Printable PDFs of your calendars. Adding an event via SMS text message, RSS feeds, and great integration with Gmail. The Gmail side automatically extracts text from messages and will have a handy dandy link on the right side if it believes there is an event you would like to add to your calendar. Also you can add event information when composing a message.
So that’s it. It does all that. Nothing to install. All on the web. Your calendar will be available anywhere with Internet access, and even to your phone. Syncing (with programs or mobile devices) will be rolled out soon as it is one of the number one requested features for Google Calendar.
Please check out the Google Calendar tour so you can see what I’m talking about. And let me know how you like the service.