I've been using Google Calendar for a while now and there are a couple of problems that I have noticed and a couple that friends have pointed out.
Generally, Google has yet again made a great product. The new event parser works really well. If you don't know, it basically allows you to type in events the way that you think about them (e.g. "
Another thing that they got right is public calendars. There are currently thousands of public calendars that you can add into your Google calendar like a calendar of holidays. But you can also subscribe to iCalendar feeds (as I have demonstrated icalendar importing of Drupal events in the past). This is the kind of thing that will take a geeky technology (iCalendar) and hopefully make it easy enough for "my mom" to use. She can just use the "search" box for the term in an iCalendar feed and there she has it without knowing about iCalendar protocol at all.
In that same vein, you can have multiple calendars in your google calendar - e.g. work and personal - and share your calendar with different permission levels. So, the wife can see and edit my personal calendar but not my work calendar. You could allow coworkers to view (bot not edit) your work calendar and only let your coworker friend see your personal calendar as well. Pretty cool.
All the same, here's the stuff that I don't like about gmail - because this is the stuff they might fix and make it super duper.
Yeah, I had a calendar for yesterday, but I don't really care about it anymore. I still want it recorded in my calendar, but I don't want to be bothered by it, so, at least grey it out.
The above bit shows how it currently shows. Where is today? There are two visual cues on the page that show today, but why are all of the days in the past given as much visual weight as the stuff in the future? Grey those suckers out!
You can view the calendar as "Day", "Week", "Month", "Agenda", or a custom view such as "next 4 days" or something like that. This is very nice, but when you hit the "previous" and "next" buttons move your view into the past or future, it moves a whole chunk at a time instead of by a smaller increment. So, you are in the 4 day view on a Tuesday which means you Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. You are dreaming about the weekend and want to scroll forward so that Tuesday and Wednesday drop off the calendar but Saturday and Sunday are added. You can't do that. It's kind of amazing given the time-chooser-slider they implemented in flash for Google finance and the map centering control in Google Maps. In both cases you can select your size of the viewport (e.g. zoom level) and you can select your boundaries. Imagine if you couldn't control exactly where the edges of your map are. I mean, that would be just as bad as the old Mapquest for crying out loud.
Search or Add Event
The last annoyance I've got is that they put a search bar on top. I know search is what Google is well known for, but when I interact with my calendar searching is one of the last things I do. This is a point that 30boxes got right. The prime real estate should be reserved for a "quick add" box. I shouldn't have to click a button to do a quick add - it should just be there always. And should have the focus (or at least be keyboard hotkey accessible like gmail is).
What Are You Feeding Me?
This is another one of those geeky things, but Google Calendar offers an XML feed of some sort. However, I can't figure out what it is or how it works. Me. Can't figure it out. I'm more technically savvy than the average person and my feed reader doesn't like the thing, Firefox live bookmark doesn't like it, so what CAN I do with it? It would be nice if it were an iCalendar feed, or RSS feed, or both, but it doesn't seem to be either. Sad :(
That's it - my critique of Google Calendar. Overall it's a great tool that works really well and is really intuitive. It could be better, but I assume that's "in the works". What is your pet peeve about Google Calendar? And if you aren't using it, why the heck not?