Sunday, September 07, 2008

I Wish You Would Use Google Calendar

This is the first post in a news series. I was going to call it "Social Applications That I Use That I Wish You Would Also Use", along with its sibling series, "Social Applications I Use That I Wish You Would Not Use", but my experience with "Things I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging" is that a long title for a series has disadvantages that I prefer to avoid.

You would improve my life if you used Google Calendar.

With Google Calendar (or "GCal"), I can send event listings, appointments and tasks to my Outlook calendars at home and work. I can send event listings to friends and if they use Google Calendar, Outlook or any of the many other compatible calendars, these dates will go into their calendars as well. If I've put the address in correctly, there will even be a link to the Google Map for the place.

When an event is in your electronic calendar, not only do you see it when you look at your calendar, but you can get email or pop-up reminders. As many as you need. (And I often need a lot.)

If you used Google Calendar to tell me about an event, I wouldn't have to cut and paste the details into the various fields of my calendar. I would just have to "accept" and it would be done. If I want to invite someone else, I put them on my invite list and they can do the same.

Added bonuses:

  1. Using a GCal notice, You're less likely to leave out critical details like time and location.
  2. Many more people RSVP to calendar requests than to ordinary email invitations.
  3. You get most of the benefits of one of the eVite type sites without the annoyances. /li>

Additional Tips:

  • The Quick Add feature is pretty smart at figuring out what various ways of writing dates and times are. If you type "at 414 Bank St" it will figure out that 414 Bank St is the venue for the appointment.
  • If you want Google Maps to show the location for a building, but you have other information, like the name of the building and what part the event is in, put the additional information in parentheses after the address. (Here is an example.)
  • You need to be careful about your "private" and "public" settings. I once came across the calendar of an Alberta sociology professor because she'd set her calendar to "public" and, after she added a conference in Ottawa to it, it showed up in a listing of "Ottawa" calendars. She may not have minded strangers knowing her lecture schedule, but probably didn't want us knowing the names of her doctors and how often she saw them.

Finally, if you are not going to use Google Calendar to tell me about an event on your web posting or email, please at least use actual text to do it and not a jpg or gif of a poster advertising the event. I really hate typing when I shouldn't have to.


Milan said...

One huge free added bonus of GCal is that it will send you reminders by SMS text message, once you have verified your phone.

Pearl said...

have you used iCal? It seems pretty similar, apart from the google-map integration.

David Scrimshaw said...

Milan, good point about the SMS messages.

Pearl, I gather that GCal and iCal can talk to each other.