Google Calendar is almost Newton Calendar

I played with the new Google Calendar yesterday (great timing - we had just finished a meeting at the TLC where we were throwing ideas around to improve our timesheet and project tracking systems, and a calendar UI was high on the list).

At first, I thought it was just a web based iCal knockoff. But, I just played a bit more, and now I realize it's a web based Newton Calendar knockoff. That's meant as a very high compliment. Maybe, 10 years later, we're ready to get back into data soups and intelligent assistants...

Try this. Log into Google Calendar, and hit the "Quick Add" link. A text box pops up. Enter "lunch with elvis tomorrow at noon for 2 hours at the bellagio in las vegas"

What you get is a calendar event created, at 12:00pm, blocking the calendar for 2 hours, with location "the bellagio in Las Vegas" (including a link to a Google Map showing where the Bellagio is). I'm assuming if Elvis was in my Google Contact List, he'd be automatically added and invited to the event.

The UI is also by far the best calendar UI I've seen on the web. It feels completely like a desktop application. Want to create an event from 1pm-2pm? Just drag a selection on the calendar, and it creates an event - then prompts you for details. Just like a good desktop calendar should. But it's a web app.

Calendars can also be shared, either publically or with a defined set of individuals - for free, without having to pony up for a .Mac account. And you can subscribe to standard calendars published in the iCal format. I subscribed to the Calgary Flames schedule right away :-)

This is pretty cool stuff. It's going to be tough reverting back to Oracle Corporate Timeâ„¢ for use on campus. Now I have to put in for a schwanky graphics tablet so Google Calendar can have handwriting recognition like my old MessagePad did...

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