Katie is the master of our domain. She maintains the family finances and schedules. She is the COO, CFO and CEO of the house. (I am the CTO) Recently, we have had the need to share our family calendar in a distributed way. She had been using Outlook Calendars on her laptop, but that didn’t publish well. It was a fairly intense calendar with color coding for each member of the family and lots of overlapping appointments.
I twisted her arm and forced her to switch to Google Calendars. I have been extremely pleased and impressed with the functionality and elegance of design. It is another great example of a Web 2.0 application. It looks a little like a web page and a little like an application. It uses Ajax heavily and includes lots of features the user might want. She created a separate calendar for each member of the family and color coded the calendar. This is a different approach Google uses, one in which I think has merit over individual appointment coloring.
Sharing is easy. So far, we haven’t found one thing wrong with it. It’s early still, so I want to see how it stands the test of time.
Interestingly, I also switched Katie from POP3 direct from our host to forwarding her mail to GMail and using POP3 to pull it down from there. She doesn’t notice any negative side-effects. if anything, it’s much faster. I have already dropped Outlook and have been happily using GMail for almost 2 years now. I think Katie will eventually make the switch too. This is a bad trend for Microsoft. I have always been a strong Microsoft user, but I find myself using Google products more and more. Picassa, Gmail, Documents, Calendar, Maps and Analytics. I just could not possibly see myself using the Microsoft alternatives. They are just much too hard and inconvenient.
Google’s vision of online software has been consistent and strong. Every time they release a product, I find myself using it and dropping the Microsoft alternative. Change is in the air.