Google Calendar only 20% there

3 or 4 days ago Google inflicted Google Calendar on the world, yet another in their long line of Beta products.  Being part geek I tried it out over the Easter break and within about 2 minutes became very unimpressed with the product.  Based on the bugs, quirks and workarounds this product does not look like it has been through even the most basic of testing.  Some of the issues I came across are listed below.

  1. Unable to edit an event once you have added it to your calendar.  This seems to be a common issue if you are running personal firewall software such as Norton Internet Security or ZoneAlarm.  You can get around the issue by disabling security while you edit your calendar!  As Barbara Krasnoff from Information Week says “you’ve got real problems if people need to disable their security features in order to use your product.”
  2. Entering events with days of the week in the title.  Google has built some intelligence into the tool to help you quickly create events, but try and create and event for “Good Friday” or “Easter Monday”, no luck.  You get events on the next Friday or Monday called “Good” and “Easter” respectively.
  3. Once you successfully create an event and go to edit it, there are no visual clues on how to change attributes.  You need to click on the attribute and then the field will become a textbox.
  4. Within a corporate environment the Calendar does not seem to work, resulting in a partially loaded page with Javascript Object errors.  This I can only assume has to do with point 1 where Google is doing some really bad stuff from a security point of view.
  5. No hCalendar support and generally no standards support.  Rod Booth from Innovation Creators provides a good summary of the issues.
  6. Issues with importing events and timezones, Cameron Rielly noted this issue and found a workaround.  Create a calendar, import, create a new calendar import from first into second and then start using the second calendar. Doh!

Google, get back to us when you start to actually test your products before you ship them, even in beta.

5 thoughts on “Google Calendar only 20% there

  1. yeah I’ve noticed some other problems as well. Some appointments didn’t come through with the Outlook import. Others that I’ve added to the calendar weren’t there the next day. Lots of flakiness going on. But it’s a great start and a great platform. Get ready for it to become the standard.

  2. We are trialing it’s use for our Indoor Cricket website with mixed results. Granted it’s for a sport site so the guys are not the nerdiest bunch you’re likely to meet. But the ease of use with Google Calendar seems to be give and take. It’s great to see we can (with the use of some embedded HTML) display a dynamic link to our calendar’s up and coming events. However the hassles begin in trying to invite others to events (games). It’s easy if you are subscribed to Google Calendar. But our guys are paronoid and refuse to sign up. Fine! But using emails alone to invite players has limited success. Some folks are asked on clicking yes to an event what program they wish to open the link with. An instant WTF with our guys. Yet it works fine on my PC.

    Just teething probs I think. Google will eventually work it out. That is why they call it a Beta (refering to M.Specht’s comment)

  3. Great to see you are using it for a real world example. Yes the teething problems are because it is beta, however Google could have spent a bit more time testing internally before releasing it on the world.

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