I recently came across Google Calendar almost by accident, I was aware of it before but had never used it as we have Outlook Exchange at work and I have my trusty FiloFax as well as my iPod touch for my own scheduling.
At around the same time I read a blog post about Google Calendar so had a proper look at it. On the surface it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a calendar but when you utilise the ability to share calendars and produce embeddable widgets it really is a great tool.
It took only a matter of minutes to create a new calendar for our information skills sessions, schedule them and add in details including a brief description of the session and a link to the booking form where necessary.
I created a widget for the calendar, customized it to suit our needs (all done using Google’s widget creator) and added to our webpages (see screenshot above). Now users can find all the information they need in an easy to use table (which they can view in a list which I’ve chosen as the default or as a weekly or monthly view). Clicking on the title of a workshop causes the table to expand to give more details. If they currently use Google calendar they can also add the schedule to their calendar or individual sessions they wish to attend. I’m not sure if anyone will use this in our case but it would certainly be useful for instantly adding a series of shared meetings or a lecture timetable.
I’ve started using Google calendar as a personal calendar also, although I still have to use Outlook for work purposes (I am able to export and import between the two which is handy). I particularly like intelligent adding of events such as “Team meeting tomorrow 10-11” rather than having to complete numerous fields for every event. I’ve also been able to add my to do list to Google calendar using ToodleDo, a web based to do list.
All in all I think Google calendar is a great tool, particularly for shared calendars and it’s still in Beta so new developments are still being added. I can see tools like this being used more and more in organisations.
Has anyone else any positive/negative experiences of Google calendar or of any other useful calendar tools?