Thing 8 – I Dream of Google CalendarsAugust 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Professional Development | Leave a comment
Being a late adopter and all, I just recently became a regular user of Google Calendar, mainly to coordinate my schedule with my partner. We each have our own calendar, which we share with each other, to track availability for social activities, trip planning, etc. Since we got iphones last year, we’ve been using the Google Calendar iphone app to stay on top of things. I’ve tried to use reminders effectively for the important stuff, but I’ve not quite mastered the correct configuration for that to actually work right on my iphone. While we both keep our own print planners, and we have house calendars for home-front date-keeping, the Google calendars have become indispensable for us in our efforts to stay informed, on time, and not double-book ourselves.
As for work applications of Google Calendar, I have a few thoughts on that:
A couple of weeks ago, I ventured so far as push my online conference schedule to my personal Google Calendar, putting it neatly in my hand on my mobile device – handy! I felt triumphant. Alas, after a few near misses, I discovered a time-zone switch happened in the Google Calendar appointments, and being loathe to troubleshoot the problem, I ended up using my printed schedule instead. Good ol’ paper – predictable, reliable, lovable.
I’m nearly frothing at the bit to use Google Calendars in our Library Hours and Student Training web pages, since currently I manually update html tables in my capacity as the library webmaster. The code4lib article and blog post about how libraries are using Google Calendar (both provided in the original Thing 8 post) are excellent starting points for me. It makes sense for us to streamline this process with Google, since we’re using Google accounts for other library public services operations (chat reference IM account, Google forms for patron feedback). I expect editing a Google Calendar will be one-million times easier for non-web-authoring staff who manage this kind of information than it is for them to edit html pages in a web editor or send me word documents that I have to cut and paste into html. Ack!
We are also currently experimenting with the Google api to see if we can build a room reservation system, based on Google Calendar. Wish us luck!
So, I often ask myself, is it unhealthy to expect so much from Google, to look at it as a catch-all problem solver? In my job, I struggle to manage widely varied and distributed systems, sites, applications, etc. It is wrong to bliss out on the possibility of consolidating lots of things into one familiar application/interface? Should we be putting all our eggs in one basket?