Over the past week, I’ve been experimenting with Google Calendar as a personal planning device. Although it’s still in beta (like every other Google product), it boasts an amazing set of features.

You will find many articles scattered about the Interweb about syncing Google Calendar (GCal) with iCal. This article is not about that; this article is about using GCal as a real calendar is used, no matter the situation.

To get started on GCal, just sign up for a GMail account. Then visit http://www.google.com/calendar.

The college student needs to familiarize himself/herself with the following three methods of using GCal:


  • Use GCal’s quick add function while planning at your computer. The quick add feature allows you to simply type the sentence that you would use to describe the event, such as “Meeting with Tom tomorrow at 5pm in the coffee shop” and Google does the rest of the work. Sweet like Jesus.


  • When you’re away from your computer, add events to your GCal using SMS on your phone. The cool-factor of this feature is unparalleled in this post-9/11 world. Whenever someone asks me, “Who are you texting?” I now answer “My secretary. Did I introduce you to my secretary? Her name’s Google Calendar.” To add events to your GCal using SMS, you use the same “quick add” syntax discussing two bullets earlier. It requires some set-up, though: you’ll have to register your phone with Google, which is much less scary/1984-esque than it sounds. Once you’ve registered, just text your event to add to GVENT (48368) on your phone. GCal is even slimmer than PocketMod



  • Load your Facebook events into GCal about once a week. While I know some people hate getting Facebook invites, I still find them useful even if they have become borderline to spam. To load them into GCal:
      • Navigate to your “My Events” page and press the Facebook Export button in the upper right corner.
      • Save this file somewhere accessible.
      • Then bring up GCal and go to “Settings.”
      • Click on the “Import Calendar” tab.
      • Point it to the file you just downloaded and click OK




So go fill up your new calendar, you young entrepreneur you. If I missed any sweet function, let us know in a comment.

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