Google Apps: Making the Most of Google Calendar

By Cohen, Steven M. | Information Today, May 2008 | Go to article overview

Google Apps: Making the Most of Google Calendar


Cohen, Steven M., Information Today


Welcome to the latest installment in a series that reviews various applications for Google tools. In my past three columns, I discussed internal options and third-party applications for Gmail, and in my last column, I ran through the basic features of Google Calendar. This column focuses on several third-party applications that have been built to make a user's experience with the calendar easier and more productive.

Like the other Gmail applications I discussed, Lifehacker (www.lifehacker.com) has a many-in-one download (http://life hacker.com/software/exclusive-lifehackerdownload/ enhance-google-calendar-with-the-better-gcal-firefox-extension-260074 .php) featuring more than 20 extensions for Google Calendar. These extensions include a text-wrap option that will not allow text to move across the view of calendar entries, an option that enables users to display the week number in the calendar, and an option where users can colorize weekends (which I have enabled, since I am always looking forward to Saturday and Sunday). I consider this download a must for all Google Calendar users.

For Firefox Users

There is also a Firefox extension called Google Calendar Forecast (http://user scripts.org/scripts/show/8215) that allows users to view their calendars while browsing on Firefox. To set up this feature, users will need to install the Greasemonkey Firefox plug-in (https://addons .mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748). Follow the directions for adding a private Google Calendar feed, and the script will run flawlessly.

I love this feature because I sometimes forget to load my calendar at the beginning of the day. However, I'm not happy that users must specify which websites will enable the script. For example, if I wanted the script to appear only when I go to Google.com, I have to enable the Google.com domain. But for this to work for me it needs to appear on every page.

Thankfully, I figured out how to make Forecast do this. In the place where URLs are specified, type "http://*". The * works as a wild card and will tell Forecast to display the calendar on every page visited.

Another Firefox add-on, the Google Calendar Notifier (https://addons.mozilla.org/ en-US/firefox/addon/2528), is ideal for reminders about upcoming appointments, without requiring the calendar to be loaded in a browser tab.

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