Google Gallery Allows One-Click Calendar Imports

Google on Friday unveiled Google Calendar Gallery, a platform that allows one-click importing to Google Calendars of event and listing content found on other Web sites.

Google has always envisioned Google Calendar to be capable of easing the hassle normally associated with calendar management, the company said. In announcing Google Calendar Gallery, the search giant noted an important part of realizing that goal was making it easy to search among public calendars for interesting events and add them to Calendar with a click.

Asserting it has come up with the “next best thing to a personal concierge,” Google said the Gallery is a way for Calendar users to import events and listings from an array of public calendars.

It also said it is “pumping up the volume of public calendars” by providing free listings from sources that include Atlantic Records, Cordless Recordings, Disney, Eventful, JamBase, Orbitz, the NBA, Netflix, The New York Times, TLC, Wcities and Zvents.

From Single Events to Complete Schedules

The Gallery allows users to browse sports, music and TV schedules. Events of interest, or complete schedules, can be added to personal Google Calendars in one click, said Google.

Among the content available for insertion in Google Calendars are TV listings sorted by ZIP code, presidential candidates’ 2008 schedules from The New York Times, sports schedules from Eventful and the NBA, theme park events and schedules from Disney, updates on travel deals and the ability to search on Orbitz, concert dates from Atlantic Records, Cordless Recordings, Eventful and JamBase.

Additionally, the Gallery will offer festival schedules from Wcities and Zvents, movie and DVD release dates from Netflix as well as “music horoscopes” and celebrity birthdays from artists on Atlantic Records.

Anybody, even those who do not use Google Calendar, can view Google Calendar Gallery listings for free, Google noted. “You can browse different categories of calendars to see which ones are the most popular, or you can search in the search box for the topics that most interest you,” the company said. “You’ll see video, images and detailed descriptions right in the listings so you can preview the events or shows with one click.”

Simply ‘Fabulous’

In addition to being able to, with a click of the mouse, add events to personal Google Calendars, users can opt to receive e-mail or mobile phone alerts about events. These can also be easily shared with friends and family, said Google.

The gallery idea is likely to be a winner, said JupiterResearch analyst Barry Parr, who considers himself a fan of Google Calendar. “I think Google Calendar is a fabulous application and this is a pretty good indication they’re committed investing in it and making it an important part of their platform,” Parr told TechNewsWorld.

Google Calendar, being based on the iCalendar standard, is similar to other calendar programs including Apple’s iCal, he said. “So, yeah, this has been done before. However, this is the first one that I’m aware of that’s a universal application that’s on the Web and can be used with any computer.”

Another Nail in the Newspaper Coffin?

Google is at the forefront of changing the way people get information about events, Sterling Market Intelligence Principal Analyst Greg Sterling told TechNewsWorld.

“Historically, events have been dominated by print newspapers and specialized publications,” said Sterling. “In terms of moving online, there have been events calendars for a long time, but it’s been a sort of underdeveloped segment. Recently, in the last year or so, it’s become much more crowded and competitive.”

A number of companies are now working in the Web-based events and listings niche, said Sterling. “But Google calendar is very interesting,” he commented. “This represents an big increase in the type of content now available and it is kind of consistent with a broader strategy they are employing across a number of products. It’s a gadget or widget strategy.”

Widget World

Google offers widgets for its Google Desktop, iGoogle, Google Maps and now for Calendar, said Sterling. “So now there are four areas where third-party content publishers create mini-apps that are now distributed through Google and show up in some kind of Google environment. … So what Google Calendar becomes is a very interesting search engine for events.”

Google, Sterling figured, will make all the information available over mobile devices and might, if the calendar becomes popular enough, use it to sell advertising. “The thing about Google that’s confusing to people is they don’t try to make money off everything,” noted Sterling. “They may never put ads around it, but it’s quite possible they would.”

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