In July of 2009, Google officially removed the tag of Beta from Google Calendar following three years of tinkering and getting things just right. I’d like to tell you how Google Calendar has become a welcome addition to my family. Many of you know that we are a multi-cultural and multi-lingual household. My wife and I look at technology and other daily processes through different cultural filters. This is a wonderful thing; something I celebrate and am thankful for. However, time management has always been a challenge. [Insert Latin Time Joke Here.] I’d imagine we’re not much different from any other family of 2 or more though!
About a year ago, my wife came home from a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) Meeting and told me about this wonderful new invention she had learned of called Google Calendar and how it could completely revolutionize our family time management system. I smiled of course, as I’d been using it since shortly after its Beta launch in April of 2006 and, quite intelligently, simply said, “Yes dear.” We sat down later that evening together and, for the first time ever, created a digital, online calendar for each member of our family. We setup event alerts via email & SMS text message between the two of us according to our preferences. We experimented with adding and deleting calendar appointments to see how notifications of new, deleted or modified events made it from point A to point B. I even installed a utility at the office called Google Calendar Sync to synchronize Google Calendar events straight onto the Outlook Calendar on my office computer and/or mobile device. No double entry required!
Oh my goodness, let me tell you that it has been a liberating experience to finally escape the analogue black hole of writing calendar reminders on a physical calendar as had been the norm for years and graduate to a hosted series of color-coded family calendars, living and breathing on the Internet in ”The Cloud” that we can access on demand from literally any point on the globe! You know me, I”d been using this system independently but it has been miraculous how doing this as a couple and for the four of us has improved our intra-family communications. Gone are those inevitable stressful moments when couples, uh, discuss whether or not one reminded the other of an appointment or event! There are many other free Calendar utilities that you can use. In my family’s case, Google Calendar has met and exceeded our expectations! We give it our highest recommendation.
Other more functional considerations I may draw your attention to would include:
- Users can create multiple calendars that they manage from the left column calendar management console.
- You can assign events to private or shared calendars, and using top-line folder file tabs, switch among day, week, and monthly views.
- The Agenda function is especially welcome, as it lines up all upcoming events into a single list. You can even opt to have this list automatically emailed to you as often as you like so nothing is ever forgotten or overlooked!
- Multiple calendars that others are sharing with you can be integrated into one view that uses color coding to distinguish the event sources.
- You can send invitations to events just by adding someone’s e-mail address to the calendar entry itself, and you can track RSVPs to the event.
- Google can send alarms to a browser pop-up window, e-mail, and even to your cell phone via SMS when you register your phone number.
- If you are a Gmail user, there are some neat integration points with Google Calendar. However, using Gmail is not a requirement for using Google Calendar. My wife uses a non Gmail account with no issues.
Okay, so let’s summarize. The cost is $0. The benefit of removing any potential stress points to your marriage or other significant relationships is priceless! The freed up mental band-width that you can dedicate to not worrying about any potential forgotten events or reminders is liberating and will help you sleep better at night! What are you waiting for? To sign up for Google Calendar, simply visit them online at: Calendar.Google.com. It’s quick and painless and you”ll thank me for it!