Monday, November 12, 2007

Cool Tools Podcast Episode 2 - Google Calendar

This episode of the Cool Tools series focuses on Google Calendar. Google Calendar is an amazing way to organize your dates and times. Adding events is quick and easy with a simple "point on the day" fill out method. You can easily edit the event for more complex details such as a description of the event or event reminders. In that same screen you can add guests to the event to collaborate with friends & family. They don't need to be a member of Google Calendar as well. They can still post responses and accept your invitation. The search feature on Google Calendar searches through all of your events, friend events, and public calendar events (public calendars are a great way to find out events going on in your area). Do you like to check your calendar on the go? Google Calendar has great mobile features. One is the ability to view it on your mobile device. Just point to mobile.google.com and click on the "calendar link." The other feature is its ability to send you text messages before the event. On a final note, Google Calendar seamlessly integrates with Gmail (Google's solution for e-mail organization) to deliver a powerful tool. It will notice event times and dates in your email and prompt you if you'd like to add it to your calendar. It is as simple as that.

Here is the script used for the podcast:
Welcome to the cool tools podcast series; a collection of podcasts describing some of today’s latest tools. Visit the blog at http://cooltoolslibrary2.blogspot.com/.

My name is Thomas and on this podcast I am going to talk about Google Calendar. You can visit the Google Calendar webpage at calendar.google.com. As the webpage says “Simplify. Organize. (And relax.) Organizing your schedule shouldn't be a burden.” This is not just another calendar tool that attempts to solve the problem of organizing times and dates. This calendar has so many more features that are constantly being updated.

As you could probably guess, this tool is in the suite of products offered by Google. Google takes its approach to the calendar dilemma by using the platform of the web. There is no software to download or license to buy; just sign up for a free Google account and you are on your way. By having it on the web, Google can offer Calendar to anyone that has a supported web browser and access to the internet.

By now you probably want to hear some of the great features employed by Google.

Starting off, the tool is easy to use. The first visit to your Calendar will give you an immediate response on what to do. Go ahead and click on any date to add an event. It is that easy. After clicking on a date, there are two ways to add an event. One is to fill out the “What:” field and then clicking on “Create Event.” This is the “Quick Add” feature. The other is to click on the “edit event details.” This will take you to a more detailed screen where you can fill out as many details as you want. This is also where you can do the next feature, inviting other people to the event.

Inviting people is easy. After clicking “edit event details,” go ahead and click on “Add Guests.” You can enter in people’s email addresses and Google Calendar will do the rest for you. It is okay if the invitee does not use Google Calendar, they will be able to receive the invitation and post responses.

Do you have some people that you want to share your calendar with? Google Calendar deals magnificently with viewing other people’s calendars as well as telling them about yours. It is so easy to use. Just click on the “add” button where the calendars are located (on the left of the screen) and follow the on screen instructions. From there you can turn off other people’s calendars (if it is filling up your calendar view) or turn them on (to see what they are doing).

There are also public event calendars for viewing. These calendars are events that are going on in your area that have publicized on Google Calendar. You can get to these calendars by searching for them. That leads into the next feature; search.

What would a Google tool be without a search feature? At the top of the screen, Google added a search box so that you can search your events and your friends’ events with ease. Public event calendars are also incorporated into the search.

Now for all you mobile users out there, Google has added some features to help you out in using your cell phone for remembering those hard to remember occasions. One feature is the mobile calendar website. Point your mobile device to mobile.google.com and click on the calendar link. It’ll take you to a wonderfully designed mobile site with all your calendar info. Another mobile tool that Google and implemented is the SMS feature. For any event that you add, you can have Google send a text message to your cell phone reminding you of the event.

Finally, I am going to mention the Gmail integration. If you have a Gmail account (that’s Google’s solution for email), then you have a powerful tool combination. Let’s say that someone emails you with their birthday party information. It is a pain to add that into your calendar manually. So why not let Google do it for you. Google recognizes calendar event information and prompts you on the right of an email if you would like to add it to your calendar.

So go ahead and give Google Calendar a go. It is definitely worth trying out.

For more cool tools, feel free to visit the cool tool blog at http://cooltoolslibrary2.blogspot.com/. Thanks for listening and have fun organizing your life with Google!


Listen to the podcast here:

2 comments:

Sharon said...

Very professional presentation! And very persuasive - you've definitely convinced me that this is a tool I should be using!

Sharon

chenson said...

In both your vidcast and podcast you have a wonderful intro. I really like how you provide the website. I currently use iCal on my Mac, but I like the social aspect of Google Calendar. I will have to check it out.