Google has released a Calendar Sync program, letting users syncronize their Mcirosoft Outlook calendars and Google Calendar, synchronizing appointments in both directions. That not only means that if you use Google Calendar, you can still get your appointments offline in Outlook, or if you use Outlook, you can create an online accessible version (say, for smartphone access), but that you can also use Calendar Sync as a way of synching Outlook on two computers.
Say you have a laptop and a desktop, or a work and home computer, both with Outlook. If you install Calendar Sync on both and link both to the same Google Calendar, then any appointments you add at one computer will be synched to Google, and then back to your other computers. You can use Google Calendar as a link between all of your computers, plus have an extra copy on the internet for when you can’t get to your computer.
All in all, a lot of options for a little program. Check it out.
As always, Google search is the big boy, with Google Images the only other vertical that performs spectacularly. However, strong growth in Google Maps and Gmail mean that the two have a shot of breaking out of the pack and joining those two.
In the third tier are Google News and Google Video, one growing slightly, one sinking slightly. Guess moving around Video and changing its focus every few months hurt Video, though not as much as you’d expect. The fourth tier has Books, Earth and Groups, which enjoyed moderate growth, Scholar, which sank 32% due to neglect, and iGoogle, which exploded and grew over 250%. iGoogle is Google’s success story for the year, which is great news for the struggling personalized homepage product category and Google’s Gadget developer ecosystem.
There are the also-rans at the bottom, including Blog Search, the Google Directory (shockingly still popular than many of the others), Google Talk (most neglected product of the year), Calendar and Finance. Google Product Search is Google’s biggest failure, losing 73% of its users from when it was Froogle. A year ago, Froogle had a good ten million unique visitors and a nice brand name, now it has maybe two million and two generic names. Google killed Froogle, and hurt itself badly with this one.
Missing from this list is another Google success story, Google Reader. This suggests that Reader, while disrupting the RSS market, is too small to make the list, or that comScore screwed up (since we know Reader had a ton of growth). Also: No Google Apps or Google Docs, no Blogger or YouTube or SketchUp or Desktop.
It’s important to note that, of the 17 Google products listed, the only ones being monetized are Web Search (#1), Gmail (#3), Google Maps (#4) and Product Search (to a very small extent). Not making any money are Images (#2), News (#5), Video (#6), Earth (for the most part), Groups, Books, iGoogle, Scholar, and any of the others. Google would love to monetize Images, News and Video, but the amount of content it doesn’t own in there makes it damn near impossible to do so and not get sued.
Google has released for Blackberry devices Google Sync For Mobile, a program that syncs your Google Calendar with the Blackberry’s calendar application. This means you can edit your calendar on your computer or your phone, and expect the calendar to stay the same in both places. Most likely, the blackberry is only the first to get this, and Google is probably producing similar software for other device platforms.
Jotspot’s former VP of Product Development and current Googler Scott Johnston gave a presentation last week where he revealed much of Google’s plans for JotSpot. Turns out the collaboration software will be the basis for Google Sites, the replacement for Google Page Creator, using powerful collaborative tools to allow businesses to create “intranets, project management tracking, customer extranets, and any number of custom sites”.
Scott also confirmed what most people had been suspecting, that Google Gears support will be built into Google Docs, Gmail and Calendar for offline access. He explained how offline and online collaborative editing of the same document would be reconciled.
What happens when somebody edits a document offline at the same time another user is editing the online version? The same algorithm that reconciles simultaneous editing will apply here when the offline version is merged back into the online version. Changes will be versioned the same way, so basically in chronological order.
Google is also apparently not yet working on OCR (optical character recognition) for imported files (Microsoft Office’s OneNote does this), but may one day. Integrating GrandCentral into Google Apps is a major priority for Google, he said. And finally, don’t expect video conferencing in Google Talk/Chat, not soon at least, though it may be considered for the long term.
Google Gears, Google’s platform for running online applications while not connected to the internet, has been a ton of potential that wasn’t being realized, since Google launched it with Google Reader and then did nothing for five months. For Gears to be successful, it has to be more useful than a one-app pony, and Google wasn’t using it for anything.
The other service which is getting actual Gears integration is Google Calendar, as spotted by Andy Beal. Some slueths at Blogoscoped discovered you will be able to view and edit the next three months of your calendar after a Gears-enabled browser logs onto Calendar and syncs up. Presumably, you’ll be able to view a decent number of past appointments as well. No idea when this functionality goes live, but its promising.
I’m going to go speculating and say that it appears Google has decided to leave the job of integrating Gears with the various Google services to the actual product teams, which could be why its taking so long. Most Google teams have a lot of work on their plates, and might not have time to do this. I can’t imagine the Google Docs guys having a lot of time, with the high visibility and pressure of their products, which is a shame since Docs (and Gmail) are the most anticipated products to get Gears eventually.
Google has released an iPhone-formatted version of Google Calendar. Just visit calendar.google.com from your iPhone’s web browser to enjoy it.
Google also improved Gmail on mobile phone browsers, letting you hit checkboxes and a drop down to perform certain operations on a number of messages, including archiving, deleting, masrking as spam, adding labels and marking as read.
You Gotta love the Webware 100 Awards. With ten winners per category, every multi-billion-dollar corporation can win multiple times, often in every category! Gee, it’s just like the Oscars!
Here’s what Google won:
Google Reader won in the Browsing category, Gmail won in the Communications category, Google won in the Data category, YouTube won in the Media category, GOOG-411 won in the Mobile category*, Gmail Mobile won in the Mobile category, Google Maps Mobile won in the Mobile category, Google AdWords/AdSense won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Google Calendar won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Google Docs won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Blogger, won in the Publishing category, Feedburner in the Publishing category, Google Analytics won in the Publishing category, and Google Maps won in the reference category.
My Yahoo - Browsing; Yahoo Mail - Communication, Yahoo Messenger - Communications; Yahoo Search - Data; Flickr - Media; Yahoo Video - Media; Yahoo OneSearch - Mobile; Yahoo Maps - Reference.
Internet Explorer - Browsing; Windows Live Hotmail - Communications; Windows Live Messenger - Communications; Windows Live Search - Data; TellMe - Mobile; Microsoft Office Live - Productivity and Commerce; Silverlight - Publishing; Microsoft Virtual Earch - Reference.
Everyone else makes an appearance, and in most categories, every major player is a winner. I love award shows where everyone wins. It’s like those Little Leagues where everyone gets a trophy and no one learns to be an adult.
(via The Google Analytics Blog)
* - cough, bullshit, cough. It’s a brand new service, and unless it feeds the homeless, it deserves nothing yet. Category filler.
Google has started up a directory of public Google Calendars, giving you loads of information to subscribe to get added to your daily schedule. The Top Picks should give you an idea of what to expect, with an NBA schedule calendar, Netflix DVD release dates, Orbitz deals, and events by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain. Other calendars include TV show schedules and holidays. Subscribe to them all and enjoy a calendar with way more information than you can ever process!
Google released a mobile version of their Calendar site, available at calendar.google.com on your mobile device. The mobile version gives you your calendar in a simple text format, just as a list of events, no fancy graphics (though that also means it loads real fast). It doesn’t have an easy means of separating out multiple calendars, but it does come with the quick add feature for adding new events with simple statements. You can’t edit or delete events.
I wonder if Google is planning a Java/WinMobile application for Calendar like it did with Maps and Gmail? I wasn’t crazy about the Gmail one, but if they plan on showing a Calendar like it was meant to be featured (as a calendar with boxes, not a list), they should really consider it.
Google Calendar has a new and improved notifications system for your Calendar events. Now, you can set up notifications for events in your calendar and get reminders by text message on your mobile phone. You can click an arrow next to a Calendar to set up reminders for events in that calendar, or set them for individual events by editing the event. Looks like it isn’t available for all Calendar users, like myself, but expect it to rollout soon.
Google has cancelled today’s scheduled maintenance of Google Calendar, after many users were confused and sent emails to the company. According to PC World, Google didn’t clarify what users could expect, leading to much confusion. Google forgot to include the time zone for which its 8 am to 9 pm maintenance period referred to, and probably should have said from the begininning that downtime would be expected to last no more than five to ten minutes during the entire thirteen hour period.
Google tried to do a good thing, let users know ahead of time its plans, and it backfired on them because when users hear downtime, they panic. Its a shame. Google now says it plans to change the way it does maintenance for Google Apps, requiring their engineers to find a way to update the software without causing downtime for users. Unlike previous Google services, some companies and organizations rely on Google Apps for everything, and they won’t stand for downtime, giving Google a new set of priorities.
The real shame is that almost every problem in Google’s services results in Google’s stuff being coded specifically for the mistakes other browsers have. Yes, Google needs its stuff to work more importanly in IE and Firefox, but coding for quirks of those browsers means your stuff is always going to have problems with alternative browsers and future browsers, especially if you have zero fallbacks for standards-compliant browsers.
a description of what the script does
warns the user to Mask as IE
simply makes the “browser not compatible” notification to go way
simply overrides bad browser sniffing
many issues related to bad object detection
Apparently, before being acquired by Google, Writely was a model of browser compatibility, and since Google picked it up, not so much. Shame.
In this thread’s case, the severe shortness of a script that fixes all functionality issues with Google docs, Google spreadsheets, Picasa, and Google calendar should be telling. That Google, one of the biggest companies around can’t find the time to test in Opera is shocking; that one man working alone can write an 140 line (including comments) script consisting of a handful of simple fixes should reflect far, far worse on Google than it does on Opera. Especially when you consider that they somehow find the time to work past IE innumerable flaws.
It’s not like Google doesn’t care. According to Opera Watch, some of their teams work hard with Opera to make sure things work. Problem is, then you have Google Page Creator, “which flooded the code with a enormous amount of browser quirks usage, or using Mozilla or IE’s bugs as features”.
(via Download Squad)
Hmm, what have we here? Did Google Calendar start up a quota system or something alike?
Before - until yesterday - I could check periodically whether my calendar changed or not, and by means of API i could insert or remove things. Not any more, so it seems. I can do it for a while, but then at a certain time it says:
Google autoSync failed
Sync with Google failed:calUserID:8768 sync() error. Google ServiceException:com.google.gdata.util.ServiceForbiddenException
message:calUserID:8768 You have hit Google’s quota limit.
Hm. Apperently the time of “everything’s possible” is clearly over.
Very interesting. Does Google have some sort of quota for Calendar? Is the quota related to Gdata API requests? The first commenter says, “I have those errors already for a while”. The fourth commenter adds, ” I can’t get it synced anymore… used to work with outlook 2003, the 2007 outlook doesn’t do it anymore: doesn’t seem to cooperate with the funambol plugin”.
You know, Outlook doesn’t have a quota. That’s all I’m going to say.
UPDATE: Lane LiaBraaten from the Google Calendar team showed up in the comments to explain what’s going on. Basically, some applications using the API delete and recreate the entire Calendar, every time they sync with it, rebuilding the whole freakin’ thing for some reason. Crazy! So, those applications wind up creating tons of cancelled events in the Calendar every time they sync, flooding it with thousands of cancelled events, so yeah, Google shuts them down. What do you expect? It’s practically an attack on the system!
Arie forwarded me this email he received from the Google Apps team:
From: The Google Team
Date: Apr 24, 2007 1:04 PM
Subject: Google Apps Status Alert: Maintenance upgrade for Google Calendar on April 26th
We wanted to inform you that we are planning to conduct routine maintenance to Google Calendar between 8AM and 9PM on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 . During this time, this service may be unavailable to some of your users. Please inform your users about this planned maintenance appropriately. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to improve Google Calendar.
If you have any questions, you can contact the Google Apps Support team through the Google Apps Help center (http://www.google.com/support/a/).
The Google Apps Team
Please do not reply directly to this message. Please contact us through the Google Apps Help Center (http://www.google.com/support/a/) if you have any questions.
There’s a little more info at Download Squad, including that Google is upgrading their servers for better performance, that the maintenance will will be 8 am - 9 pm Pacific time tomorrow, and that downtime is not guaranteed, but certainly possible during the transition. Because Google Apps only guarantees uptime for email, and not any of the other services, it appears no refund will be forthcoming if the service is improbably down the entire 13 hours.
There are now two editions of Goofle Apps: the free Standard Edition and the paid Premier Edition. Both editions have Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Page Creator, and a customized start page, no limit to the number of accounts, mobile access, and administrator control panel and web-based support.
Premier Edition differs like so: For $50 per user per year, you get a 99.9% uptime guarantee for email, 10 gigabyte inboxes for all email accounts (up from 2 gigs for the free version), the option of removing advertising from Gmail, shared calendars, APIs for integrating existing infrastructure (including single sign-on, user provisioning and management, and support for an email gateway), a limited release of email migration tools, 24/7 phone support, and third party applications and services.
A note: A 99.9% uptime guarantee means your account will be down for no more than 43.829 minutes per month. Google’s getting better, but outages have happened to Gmail, and I’m sure there will be months where Google has to refund a number of customers.
There is a free trial of Google Apps Premier through the end of April. Google Apps is free for schools and other educational institutions, as well as free for families and groups, which is really just another way of saying that those people can only sign up for the free version.
Here’s the control panel:
Interestingly, according to Nielsen/Netratings via Ionut Alex, Google Docs & Spreadsheets has pretty much cornered the entire market for web-based office applications, taking 92% market share. Looks like the market was pretty much just waiting for any big player to step in, and as soon as Google did, that was that.
For a 1,000-person organization, with a good licensing contract, that could come out to $250-$300 a user, or about five times the cost of Google’s solution. If you upgrade every other Microsoft Office release, that means $250 per user per six years, putting the total cost per year at $41-50, as much as nine dollars less than Google. For less money, you get to own your software, not rely on another company’s servers, get PowerPoint, get more powerful versions of every application, get an Exchange Server (which has many powerful advantages), and get Groove, a hugely powerful collaboration system, all of which scales cheaper as your organization gets bigger.
Hitwise released a graph that shows Google Calendar growing at an astronomical rate, reaching the same number of visits as MSN Calendar in late December. If GCal continues its growth, it may have already topped Yahoo’s Calendar to become number one in market share. Google Calendar stood, at the end of 2006 (and only 9 months on the market) at .0043% of all internet visits, above MSN’s .0040% and within striking distance of Yahoo’s .0051%.
Why is Google succeeding so quickly? I suspect it is a case of Yahoo and MSN failing to convert their larger email userbase into calendar users through poor promotion. Google ties Calendar very well to Gmail, inviting you to add appointments mentioned in emails to GCal, as well as linking to it in the upper-left hand corner of every Gmail page. That, plus the fact that Gmail’s smaller userbase is likely more savvy and more likely to know about Google’s Calendar, means Google, despite a smaller userbase (in the email segment of their products, compared with Yahoo/MSN) means a significantly higher percentage of users taking advantage of Google Calendar.
Hitwise’s blog posts a graph showing Google Calendar rising strong, catching up with the competition at MSN and Yahoo:
Hitwise’s stats also support the idea that, unlike MSN and Yahoo, Google’s calendar isn’t feeding off Gmail, but is rather being used by many people who aren’t using Gmail, being a popular product in its own right. This doesn’t entirely surprise me, with Google Calendar’s features being very attractive to outside users.
Christopher Gooley has written a program called GCalendarSync for Windows Mobile 2005 over the .NET 2.0 Compact Framework that allows Google Calendar to be synced with Windows Mobile’s calendar application over any internet connection, including GPRS. That means you get two way (events created on your phone show up in your calendar, event created online show up on your phone) calendar sync without ever having to use a cable. Damn, if only syncing the device with the rest of Windows were that easy!