tutorials

Google Calendar on the Mac

google calendarIt seems Google has added onto their philosophy of ‘let’s index the world’. All their recent software and company purchases show a Googi-Plex whose new philosophy could be, ‘let’s index the world and make it easier for people to use as a community’. While I haven’t been a Google fan (naturally I go for the underdog whenever possible) I have to admit, when I got a GMail account I was impressed. When it was suggested that MTD ought to do a calendar series including Google Calendar, I agreed. So MTD presents, My Travels with Google Calendar.

Google Calendar- the Beginning

First, the easiest way to get to Google calendar is to go to your Gmail account and click on the calendar link on the top. Let’s start with a basic layout of the Google calendar screen. It’s pretty familiar, on the left is a smaller calendar; on the right is the larger view. The larger view can be broken into day, week, month and a custom size. The custom size is set at 4 days for default. You can easily add events items. Events are easily customized with what, when, where, which calendar, guests, repeat options and description. The guest list originates from your Gmail address book. (If you haven’t tried Gmail yet, do it now!) You can also add in e-mail addresses. Weekly ViewWeekly View In the settings (link from the top), you can change ‘general’ formats of dates and times, locations as well as add weather. ‘Calendar’ settings are were you can control what calendars you have. You can subscribe to other calendars, preset calendars and friends calendars. The ‘notifications’ settings allow you to change the way you get your calendar alerts. You can get pop-up windows, e-mails or SMS text. You can also ‘import’ other calendar files. Notification SettingsNotification Settings From your Google calendar page, you can easily click on the link to any number of items, such as Documents, Gmail and Photos. Also, you can create your own customized Google Home Page , that will include any Google service you wish. You’ll also see a search box.

Deep in the Heart of Google

Here are a few of the advanced features we find. A new feature in Google calendar is ‘search public events’ This is where Google shows it’s power. You can find any event listed on the web and add it your calendar. So if I’m planning a trip to the Southwest, I can look up the Albuquerque Balloon Festival and stick it on my calendar. You can also search public calendars to add to your own. Search CalendarsSearch Calendars Here’s a cool trick: Try the ‘Quick Add’ link. You can type in a random event, with a date and Google sorts it and sticks in on your calendar.

Importing

You can import iCal and CSV (Outlook) calendars. There aren’t any sync options, aside from the fact that Google is a web app, so appears the same on whatever computer you check it from. If you have a web ready PDA, sync is not an issue. In the general settings, set up your location, then turn on the weather option and presto daily weather shows up on your calendar. You can set Google up to handle your invites and add them automatically to your calendar. With Google calendars, it seems to be easy to share with other Google calendar owners. You can get other calendars in the settings options. When sharing calendars, you can choose to allow others to add common events to your calendar.

The End?

So far, I can’t imagine living my entire computer life on the web. Google calendars, seems very reminiscent of Yahoo! Calendars. That is also a great like web calendar program, that has support for groups as well. Oddly, Yahoo’s interface has always seemed more Mac like to me that Google’s, but Google does actually support Mac formats. Go figure. I don’t know that I’ll start using Google Calendar yet. But to be fair, it is in Beta, so I will certainly keep an eye on it. Google often comes up with nifty ideas, add ons and ‘hacks’ for their software. Plus it has the power of Google search behind it. If you need a useful and easy Calendar program that is easily accessible, I would certainly recommend Google. If you need a higher powered calendar, you might look elsewhere. Don’t count Google out for the long run.