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Google Calendar Beta: A Hot Date

Usually, when Google announces a new public beta, it means that the company doesn't want to absolutely commit themselves, but are pretty sure that they've got a reasonably finished product. However, Google's new Calendar is, it turns out, truly a beta product — if not alpha. While it has an impressive feature set and is very nicely designed, Google Calendar has enough glitches to make one wonder whether, this time, Google was too fast off the mark.

Click image to enlarge.

Google Calendar is one of the new online applications that uses the popular Ajax (Asynchronous JAvaScript and XML) Web development technique. Because data updates are faster and more responsive, Ajax-based online calendars offer a great deal more flexibility that their more static predecessors. For example, users can enter appointments and other info quickly and easily using either menus or by typing in simple sentences ("Lunch with Valerie noon-1pm May 14"), share calendars with either specific contacts or the public at large, and incorporate other calendars that follow the iCal standard.

Quick And Easy Entries
Google Calendar offers all these features in an excellent, easy-to-understand, and well-designed interface. You have five calendar views to choose from: day, week, month, a specific number of days (for example, four days), or as a list of appointments.

You enter a new appointment by clicking on the Create Event or Quick Add links, or by clicking directly on the day itself. As with other Ajax apps, you are then offered a single line in which you type as much or as little of your appointment you like. For example, typing "Staff Meeting every Monday 4-5pm" will result in an entry of "Staff Meeting" to appear each Monday at 4 p.m. on your calendar. Add an address, and a Location line will be added, with a link to a Google map.

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