Saturday, September 14, 2013

Google Calendar: A User's Introduction

For this post, I will not talk about Philippine energy. I will briefly introduce Google Calendar, with the hope that you (I hope you understand who you are) will use it to increase productivity and collaboration.

Google Calendar is (obviously) Google's take on calendar and task management. As far as I remember, Yahoo! has calendar also in their Yahoo! Mail, but it was not as integrated to their other products, and did not have a lot of collaborative functionalities (why does Google say that 'functionalities' is incorrectly spelled?) that Google Calendar introduced.

Google Calendar is a simple take and presentation on how we see dates vis-a-vis tasks, activities, sharing and communication. If you have a Gmail account, just look up, at the gray ribbon of Google services available, and you will see Calendar on the right-middle part. Click it, and that's almost it. (You will probably need to agree to the terms of services.)

There are a number of features in Google Calendar that I like, such as:

  1. Sharing of Calendar - By sharing calendar, this means you share one of your calendars. As people, we have different aspects of our lives. For example, we live as an employee, a part of a circle of friends, and member of a volunteer organization. For each of these circles, we can have a calendar, which we can share. And there are many ways of sharing: Allow certain people to see your calendar, edit existing appointments, create new ones, or manage the calendar, which means they can re-share your calendar to those who need access to your schedule. Of course, there is also the option of making your calendar public. When another user adds an appointment in your shared calendar, you get notified (via email or SMS, to be discussed next).
  2. Mobile Notifications - For me, I configured my Google Calendar to send me SMS to remind of in advance of my schedules  (many times for each event/schedule). This is, of course, in addition to notifications via the email. As discussed in the previous number, you also get be notified if a shared calendar is changed (someone requested an appointment or added a schedule, or edited an existing appointment, among others)
  3. Integration with other Google services - If you use Google Sites, for example, for managing a project or a team dashboard, you can (and I did) integrate the Google Calendar gadget so that it displays your calendar there. If your Google Sites is login-based, it would display your own Google Calendar.
Google Calendar is a very useful productivity tool that I hope you would use to increase productivity (of course) and enhance collaboration in shared activities.

For more information on how to do the things I listed here, you can go to the Google Calendar Help site

No, I am not a Google advertiser or stockholder. Just a Google Fan. :D

I may update this as soon as I have the time and realize its other exciting features.