26 November, 2008

Calendar - Google Account - Use it for A LOT of things, not just email

The free Google Calendar is an awesome way to keep track of your events online.  Yeah, I know; having a physical calendar (in lieu of a PDA or PDA phone) is more convenient.  However, if you want to share calendar information, with someone else, it's a really neat way of doing it.  I've started putting my information, out in my calendar, because it helps me keep track of my [slowly increasing] social events, such as coffee with my coffee buddy, once-per-year coffee with my brother, more coffee with my coffee buddy, three-times-per-year movie with my neighbor, coffee with my coffee buddy, twice per year movie with a friend of mine, coffee with my coffee buddy, etc.  I also use it to schedule my "night out", and my wife uses it to schedule her nights out, and we control conflicts that way.

There are numerous public calendars that one can also access, overlaying their information onto your own, via choosing to view one calendar's data or multiple calendars.  For instance, I have football schedules, DVD release dates, and local events on mine; I had Disney World daily events but removed it after our trip.
The trick, with sharing one's calendar, is to not divulge information, to anyone, that you do not wish divulged.  Thus, it is best to a) only share calendars with super close friends, and b) only share that information which you deem appropriate, even with those with whom you share calendars.
For example, in Google Calendars, one can choose to allow individuals to see the following information:
  • See only Free/Busy Information (Hide Details) - This is the lowest access setting, best for allowing folks to plan events with you.  They can see if you're available, and when you're not available, but they cannot see what you're DOING in your events.  They cannot see the name of the events either.  This is cool, but note that, if you're on vacation for two weeks, it'll be pretty obvious that the item is a vacation item.
  • See All Event Details - This shows the entire event name and its details inside.
  • Make Changes to Events - This is as it says, and allows sharers to change event items.  This is really useful for a group calendar -- or a calendar in someone's personal account that folks use as a group calendar -- but has little usefulness for one's own account.  Personally, I wouldn't want anyone mucking around changing my events.  Even if I had a secretary (passe) I wouldn't let them do it.
  • Make Changes to Events and Manage Sharing -- Like the above item, useful for group calendars.
You can grant 'See All Event Details', to those in need, so they can monitor your calendar.  If they login to their Google Account, and go to 'Calendar', along the top, they can see your calendar as an option along their left-frame.


Jim said...

Nicely done, Dan. Yor are a writer. See you soon.

Coffee Buddy

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,

I saw your blog post and thought you might be interested in this. I have been using it as my PIM and it has become indispensable for me. Check out the tour when you get a chance, as it appears to have nice integration with Google apps.