Google Calendar

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Google Calendar, previously code-named CL2, is a contact and time-management Web application offered by Google. It allows users to synchronize their Gmail contacts with a Web-based calendar. It became available on April 13, 2006, and is currently in beta stages. While users are not required to have a Gmail account, they are required to have a free Google account to be able to use the software.

The interface of Google Calendar is similar to typical calendar programs such as iCal. The Ajax-driven interface allows the adding and viewing of calendar events without having to reload the page, and sports a variety of view modes, such as the weekly, monthly and agenda views. Users can also choose a specific number of days to show in their custom view mode. All events have the ability to be commented on by the users of that calendar.

Events are stored online - so that in the case of a hard drive failure, no data is lost. It is capable of importing Microsoft Outlook calendar files (.cvs) and iCal calendar files (.ics) (the de facto open calendaring file format), and of sharing calendars between various users. Multiple calendars can be added and shared, allowing various levels of permissions for the users. This can allow collaboration and shared schedules between groups or families. There are also general calendars available for importing into one's account which contain national holidays from various countries.

Google Calendar is integrated with Gmail, Google's e-mail service. When an e-mail that contains trigger words (such as "meeting", or dates and times) arrives, it automatically has an "add to calendar" button. This feature is not yet available to all Gmail users, but it is expected soon.

Events can be added quickly with the Quick Add feature that converts human text into details like date and location. They can also be rescheduled and extended by dragging the appropriate boxes in the calendar views.

Currently, Google Calendar lacks the ability to synchronize with mobile devices (e.g. BlackBerry, Palm, Pocket PC), a feature which is offered by its main competitor Yahoo! Calendar.

Event reminders are available to most cellular phones via SMS, but only in the USA.

Compatibility

Since Google Calendar is a Web-based application, it supports virtually any operating system, provided that it has a browser which supports the Web technologies that it exhibits, particularly Ajax. Since it has only been in existence for a relatively short time, browser compatibility seems to be limited to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and Mozilla Firefox 1.07+, with other browsers having rendering errors or even failing to load the page at all.
 
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