Better Schedule Time for Improvements (updated)

Google has release a calendaring app to beta. You might remember me wondering where such an app was just a short while ago. I've spent a little time playing around, and while I see great potential, I can't help but feel this is another "barely good enough" Google app.

For starters, it doesn't work in Safari. You get to see this great message.

I tried it anyway, and it barely works. You don't get a mini-calendar on the left and the agenda doesn't work at all. You also can't open any events once you've set them, so that's a deal killer. Firing up Firefox under OS X works just fine. I now have two reasons to use Firefox, Google Calendar, and IM through Gmail.

Next up, iCalendar support. Yes, it appears you can import iCalendar items, but who cares about that? That's useful for the switchover from one calendar to Google Calendar, but I want to sync events with other people. People who might be using Outlook, or iCal, or something else. I tried sending an .ics from OS X (iCal integrated with Mail.app) to my Gmail account. It shows up, but Gmail doesn't care a darn about it. This is where the integration needs to kick in boys. Google claims that Gmail is smart enough to pick out events in your messages and prompt you to add them. Ohh yeah? Then why didn't it let out so much as a peep when I sent the following text to Gmail.

Test Google Calendar, scheduled for April 13, 2006 at 5:15 PM.

As a test, I put the same text in to the "Quick Add" feature and it added it just fine. 1 point for the recognition engine. -1 point for Gmail's use of that engine.

Finally, what's up with the invite feature? I sent an invite to my home account. The email showed up with a .ics attachment. I was excited. I clicked that .ics and nothing happened. I saved it off and opened it in vi, and what did I find...

PRODID:-//Google Inc//Google Calendar 70.9054//EN

Where's the calendar data? Can someone else send me an invite from Google Calendar so I have another sample?

This is a start, but more work is needed if I am going to use this on a regular basis. Jason appears to be enjoying it a little more than I am.

I got another .ics sample to look at (thanks Ian) and this one looks much better. Here, it is, raw and only slightly modified to protect the innocent.

PRODID:-//Google Inc//Google Calendar 70.9054//EN
DESCRIPTION:View your event at http\://www.google.com/calendar/event?action
SUMMARY:Friends and Family Night


Jason said...

None of the gmail integration is hooked up yet from what I can see. I'm guessing because that requires a change to gmail, which they want to test thoroughly before rolling out.

It would have been nice to roll them out simultaneously though, since the Calendar website explictly states that gmail "supports" these features, not "will support". Hopefully when it does kick in, it will support both iCalendar files and regular appointments.

Firefox on Windows, all was cool. Firefox came out last night with Universal binary support for Intel Macs. Maybe you should check that out and see if they have made some massive improvements on the Mac side.

crturboguy said...

I'm loving it. It's been a great tool for Melissa and I to sync up and see what we have going on. One of the better things I like is I've given her full rights on my calendar, so she can add things that I need to know about, like cousin's weddings & such, and now I've got those sort of things scheduled off. I just wish they would get the email support up and going.