Liking Google Calendar

I just started using Google Calendar, and I’m liking it. Previous calendar apps had never had quite enough to hook me, but I think Google has finally done it. It also helps that my ChinesePod co-workers are using it. Micah is too, and maybe Brad and John B will too?

Here are some tips to get you Shanghai dwellers started:

1. Obviously you need to go to Google Calendar and open an account first.

2. In the left sidebar you’ll see a Calendars box. Click on the plus sign to the right of “Other Calendars.” Now you’ll be on the Add Other Calendars screen. Click on “Holiday Calendars.” On this screen I added “US Holidays,” “China Holidays,” and “Christian Holidays.” Add whatever you want, then click OK.

3. Now I want some Shanghai events. Go to the Shanghai page and click on “Subscribe…” then copy the iCal link for the Shanghai events (or you can obviously just copy it from here). Now go back to Google Calendar’s Add Other Calendars screen. This time click on “Public Calendar Address” and paste in the Shanghai events iCal link. Click Add and then OK. (After you do that, you will probably want to change the display name. Do that by clicking on the little arrow tab to the right of it in the Calendars box, then clicking on “Calendar Settings” and editing “Calendar Name.”)

4. Now go back to your Google Calendar and you should see a lot more events on there now. You’ve got tons of Shanghai events, Chinese holidays, and holidays from your own country. Note that your calendar can never get “too cluttered” because you can toggle each separate calendar’s visibility by checking or unchecking the individual calendars in the Calendars box in the sidebar.

5. You probably want to create your own personal events, but don’t forget that you can divide your own events into separate calendars too. For example, I have one for my classes, one for work, one for personal stuff, and one for birthdays. That toggle visibility thing really comes in handy. Don’t forget you can change the colors too.

I’m still just discovering the genius of this thing…


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Have you used Microsoft Outlook before? It was installed on my computer here at work, so I started using it before Google Calendar came out. It integrates an e-mail app, a calendar, a to-do (“task”) list, contact management, news groups… etc. It’s pretty much what every calendaring app nowadays aspires to, especially apps competing for use in the business world where time management is so stressed. For me it has worked flawlessly: the highlights have been event reminders, sending people appointments to accept/decline, checking other peoples’ schedules to see if they’re busy or free at a certain time, and assigning tasks to myself and checking them off.

    Using Outlook gives you a nice perspective on Google Calendar because you see lots of features replicated and some missing, but you also have a better handle on what is new and innovative. Just the fact that Google Cal is online and accessible from anywhere is killer. Personally, since I use the calendar both at work (Windows) and at home (Linux), I need it to be cross-platform and web-accessible. Plus the sharing of calendars through the open format of iCal is calendar-sharing better than anyone else has implemented it before.

    So yeah, I’m liking Google Calendar.

  2. You’re right; Google’s calendar is great.

    As an iCal user, I’ve looked at various methods to publish iCalendars to the web. Google Calendar is now almost as good as Apple’s “.mac” service. (There’s also icalx but it made my recurring events screw up) I enjoyed playing with Google Calendar but for now I’ll stay with my family’s .mac account because it’s very slightly easier to publish. No chance I would pay for .mac if it were up to me. It’s just not worth it.

  3. I’ve got an Event for you Mate. Put this one in your Calendar. I am going to National Taiwan University in September.. (acceptance letter was posted yesterday).. So Excited..

    Cheers to you and your blogging John, although slack to comment, I do enjoy a little read every now and then. You and wilson should come over to taipei again sometime.

  4. Micah,

    I’ve seen Outlook’s calendar, but haven’t used it. I like not to be dependent on Microsoft products. Word (and to a lesser extent, PowerPoint) is the exception (for now).

    As you said, Google Calendar is awesome because you get all that great functionality available ONLINE. I’m looking forward to new features. One thing I wish I could do which I can’t seem to yet is to set invitations from certain people to show up automatically on certain calendars. For example, an invitation from Micah would go on the personal calendar, but an invitation from a co-worker would go on the work calendar. Like an e-mail filter.

  5. I’m pretty happy with all the new tools Google’s been churning out, too. It’s kinda funny, but Outlook is the thing that all the PHBs at most places I contracted were convinced they needed so badly that they insisted on NT servers. I say good riddance to every piece Google rips out of that particular straight-jacket.

    John, have you tried Open Office? At work, some of out computers have that installed and some have MS Office. Everything’s been working together, fine. We mostly make documents and spreadsheets, though.

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