The Google Calendar beta is a straightforward, dynamic online appointment book that can keep you up-to-date with your own private schedule as well as those from other users and public events. The advantages of Google Calendar beta over the industry-leading Yahoo Calendar are its open architecture, RSS support, and integration with Gmail. For an overview, see a video demonstration of Google Calendar here.
To use the free Google Calendar, go to calendar.google.com and sign in with your Gmail password--or you can reach it through a link within the Gmail interface. The uncluttered look and feel resemble Yahoo Calendar and Outlook, with the central pane showing views of days, weeks, months, four days ahead, or your agenda. It is easier to add events in Google Calendar than it is in Yahoo Calendar; just click once within any time view of Google Calendar beta to pop up a balloon with a text field. A list of your calendars, color-coded if you have several, appears within the left pane beneath a mini monthly view.
Google Calendar lets you import calendars from Microsoft Outlook, but Yahoo Calendar offers syncing with Outlook and mobile devices, which is more attractive for mobile pros. For example, there's no easy way to regularly export Outlook appointments to your Google Calendar without duplicating events. You can migrate events from Yahoo Calendar, but first you'll have to export them from Yahoo as an Outlook file. And unlike with Yahoo, Google Calendar's print-ready views didn't work at the time of our review.
The AJAX-based Google Calendar beta offers the potential for you to mash it up with other data sets to your liking, as fans of Google Maps have done. An open API isn't available (yet) for Yahoo Calendar.
Google Calendar beta works with XML, iCal, and CSV standards. Its XML capabilities leave the door open for scheduling possibilities. For example, rather than slotting in events only from the vendor's properties (Yahoo Calendar includes only items from its own services, such as Upcoming.org, Yahoo Groups, Sports, and Finance), Google Calendar has the potential for you to be able to integrate events from any number of sources, such as blogs. For example, if your favorite art gallery, theater, or book club uses a compatible calendar service, you could instantly add those shindigs to your personal Google Calendar so that you won't miss parties around town.