Google calendar is one the few recent Google products that I love and use on a regular basis. It gets so many things right for an online calendar right – it lets you coordinate with colleagues, schedule events, check your calendar, anytime anywhere. The interface is efficient, letting one add and edit events easily. I have thought many times how Google calendar could weave a social events system like Upcoming system around it. After all, they have the basic ingredient for a great social system – a strong personal motivation for people to contribute. I tell Google calendar about my events since it helps me keep my life organized. It already knows about many of the events I am planning to go to. It knows about the people I invite to those events or who invite me to theirs. The social hooks already exist. It would be so easy to create a larger social arena around the information in my calendar that I am willing to make public.
So when I heard that Google calendar was adding public events, I was excited. Maybe this would be the beginning of the system acquiring social roots. Of course, this is Google, and public events meant simply a way to search for such events. I have noticed this more than once about Google – bridging people means providing search functionality! Search is not the best way to find event information. People are the easiest and fastest way to find events. If I can see all the events that my friends are going to (like on Upcoming) – some of them are likely to be ones I want to go to. When I find an interesting event, I want to see who else is planning to go to it. It would be so easy to add this type of a social structure into Google calendar.
But Google misses this fundamental fact again and again. That social discovery methods not keyword search is the best way to find social information. For example, when GoogleBase came out – I noticed that when you clicked on tags, it would perform a keyword search. This is so wrong – when I click on a tag, I want a direct connection to the people who used that tag, I don’t want mediation by Google’s algorithm, I want a direct connection.
I am hoping that I am mistaken – and the social stuff for Google Calendar is just round the corner. Hopefully!