Google Calendar Arrives — But What About Mobile?

As expected, Google has announced its calendar product. I’ve been playing around with it, and I’m pretty impressed — except for one glaring oversight. There doesn’t seem to be a mobile version. It will send event reminders to you via SMS — as long as you’re on one of 15 supported US carriers, though Verizon’s 51 million users are out of luck — which could be nice, but that’s of limited utility when you’re mobile. It doesn’t help a user look at the rest of their calendar, or figure out when they’re available.

I think that Google’s personalized home page for mobiles is pretty cool, and sort of expected calendar information to be integrated into it, but no. Visiting calendar.google.com from my mobile browser just takes me to the standard site, where the AJAXy goodness is a problem, and Opera Mini is no help, either. Gmail has a decent little basic HTML site that offers a simple set of functionality, Google Calendar needs something similar as well.

The other mobile issue is a lack of sync options — it’s great that Calendar uses XML and iCal for sharing information, but for mobile users, then what? One kludge looks to be to subscribe to Google calendars in iCal on a Mac, then use iSync to get the info on the phone… but that’s only good for Mac users with an iSync-supported device, and it still only allows for a one-way flow of information. (Incidentally, if anybody’s got any other kludge mobile solutions, feel free to leave them in the comments). I get that offering some kind of mobile sync might undermine the idea that Google Calendar is an online service, but to that end, they allow access to Gmail from outside clients, not just the Web interface.

Day planners and Filofaxes don’t come with strings attached that means you can only use them at certain times, from certain places. Without some sort of mobile arm that allows for anytime access, online calendars’ growth will remain stunted.

[tags]mobile, google, google calendar[/tags]

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