Google Calendar (CL2) Launched

In February I posted about the Google Calendar and speculated that its arrival was fast approaching. Well…CL2 was launched tonight (the 12th of April). Create your calendar here. My initial opinions are as follows:

Its great. The interface is pretty darn snazzy…very Gmail-like with its layout; which is great to see as this just screams the at coming full integration between CL2 and Gmail. Everything is Ajax-ified as would be expected with any of Google Services and they do the whole event creation thing right. Its quick, its easy, and fairly intuitive while screwing with advanced event options. Whats really great are the options for repeating events; they have the standard weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc…but they also have very student friendly time slots: events that occur on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays, on Tuesday/Thursdays, and on every weekday.

Another huge win is the social aspect that is delivered at launch of CL2. You have the ability to add guests to events and calendars. Oh, and thats another thing! You can create multiple calendars and make them publicly viewable or make them private (you can restrict viewing to just yourself or open it up to certain people). A nice thing about the multiple calendar stuff is that you can view all your available calendars on a single calendar page where it combines events. Very cool stuff.

Other cool features are:

  • Notifications for events can be sent via E-mail, popups, and by Cellphone!
  • Discussion threads on events
  • Event integration with Google Maps
  • Ability to add other public calendars to your own…
  • A number of country specific holiday calendars are available for adding into your list of calendars.
  • Importing from csv and ical

I’m a happy camper.

Google Acquires Writely

Back in October I was extremely excited about Writely. It has been a few months and my love for the word processing application grows each time I use it. I wrote:

The gist of this application is that its a Word Processor online! You can type documents (much like you can with MS Word or OpenOffice.org) through a web interface. The application has an auto-save, hot keys, exporting to HTML and Word, HTML editing and the ability to publish to blogs! Oh, and the sweet part about it…you tag your documents and can distribute them with other users.

Writely is an excellent product and, like most other web 2.0 applications out there, larger companies caught notice. This time, rather than Yahoo acquiring this web 2.0 app like it did Flickr and Del.icio.us; Google made this acquisition. There is now a Google Writely team. Jen Mazzon, a Writely developer posted this on the official Google Blog:

For the last five months, I’ve been part of a Silicon Valley startup called Upstartle, which makes Writely, a collaborative word processor that runs in a web browser. Well, as of Monday, I’m happy to say that I, and the rest of the Writely team, are now part of Google.

The Writely team seems happy with the acquisition (as I would be). Sadly, if you are interested in creating a Writely account, you’ll have to wait until they re-open account registration…which they plan to do once they’ve re-located to Google. The good news? Those that already have accounts will still be able to use them as is. Also those that have existing accounts can still add collaborators to documents despite the closed account creation process. Sexy.

And if you’re curious:

Here are our “top 10” reasons why being part of Google is fantastic for Writely and the Writely team:

10. Writely is like a caterpillar that we hope to make into a beautiful butterfly at Google!
9. We love Google’s philosophy and values — especially “Focus on the user.”
8. We’re as passionate as Google is about respecting users’ privacy.
7. Many of our users are already Google fans using other Google services.
6. Being at Google will help us do more great things faster.
5. Some people didn’t feel comfortable trusting a tiny startup with their documents…and we’re no longer a tiny startup.
4. We like lava lamps and they’re pretty much standard decor at Google.
3. Three words: Free Googleplex lunches
2. As fun as it’s been to launch a popular, global, 24×7 Web service, it’ll be nice to take a vacation once in a while!
…and the number one reason???
1. We’ll be able to bring Writely to not just thousands but millions of users — the more, the merrier

Google Blog Search

I just read about this at my friend Cliff’s blog! It seems Google now provides a Blog Search tool! Yup, a Google search geared towards blog sites. Very groovy. Google states (and yes, I’m ripping off my friend’s story…but who cares :D I reach a different audience.)

Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves. Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice.

Cliff does say:

After tinkering with Google Blog Search for a bit, I have to say that it seems pretty good. It’s never quite clear how Google gathers their info and ranks their sites, although they do seem to lend quite a bit of weight to tags.

I’ve played with it a bit and I definately think its the right plan. Just one more thing to add to Google’s large list of services I use!