Google announced today the beta launch of its new online calendar application. Cnet has a good write-up here.
The calendar program will be functionally similar to the calendar module in Microsoft Outlook that many people use. However, there will be a lot more possibilities for tie-ins with other online services across the Googleverse.
The calendar also has a social media element, which Google is increasingly integrating into its products, like Yahoo! has been doing for some time. Users can share calendars with friends and family and add others’ events to their own calendars. There is also an invitation management function to create and send electronic invites, kind of like IAC’s Evite. This will also compete with Yahoo!’s calendar offering built on social events calendar site Upcoming.org, which it bought last year.
Like many of Google’s products, the API will be released to the developer community to build additions or mash-ups of the calendar tool. This will yield some interesting applications and serve as a good test bed for what else Google can do with the tool (and different ways to monetize it). It will also interoperate with Apple’s iCal, Microsoft Outlook and calendar programs built on XML — on the desktop and on mobile devices.
There are also possibilities for integrating calendars with content delivery (although the growing move toward on-demand media makes the scheduling of content consumption less relevant). In other words, scheduled events on a calendar can be tied in with content delivery channels or applications (webcasts, podcasts, etc).
This is an interesting development by Google with lots of possibilities. No sign of AdWords integration for local or national ad delivery around calendar events, but this is likely (just as Google eventually integrated AdWords to other beta products such as Mail). We’ll follow this closely and give it a more thorough test drive and review. In the meantime, here is a video that walks through the features.