RealTime IT News
Google Calendar Imminent?
By Susan Kuchinskas
September 30, 2005

It's been an open secret among entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley that Google would launch Google calendar in October.

On Friday, calendar.google.com went live, but at this point, it refers back to the Google homepage. Philipp Lenssen first reported it on the Google Blogoscoped blog, crediting still another blogger named Dirson.

Rumors began in February 2005 when Dave Jung, author of the B2Blog, posted that Googlebots had begun to ping the pages that rendered his Web site calendar.

Jung predicted that Google would launch an application that searched calendar data, rather than a calendar application. The URL, calendar.google.com, mirrors the format of both Gmail and that of other specialized Google searches, such as print.google.com.

Then, on Sept. 27, the author of the Google Addiction blog, who is known only as Gootch, noticed that the domain name gcalendar.com was registered to Data Docket, a company that Google has used to register similar names.

A Google spokeswoman would say only, "We're continually exploring opportunities to expand our offerings, but we don't have anything to announce at this time."

Google may wait until the end of the month to launch Google Calendar, whether it's an application, targeted search or both. There's a big invitation-only gathering at Google's Mountain View, Calif., offices on Oct. 26 and 27.

Except for celebrity journalists, the press is not invited. The search goliath used its first press open house in May to introduce Google Earth, and it may save this unveiling, as well.

There's a reason why the search leader seems bent on matching more and more of Yahoo's features. Yahoo introduced an online calendar for registered users way back in 1998, when Google's founders were just about to move the search engine's servers out of their Stanford dorm.

In a July report, Majestic Research analyst John Aiken pointed out that while Yahoo has long had two core offerings, mail and search, Google still relies on search for most of its traffic.

According to Aiken's analysis, users spent nine times as many minutes on Yahoo as they did on Google sites in the second quarter of 2005.

While Google's free e-mail service, Gmail, attracted just 6 percent of Google's unique visitors in June, Aiken said the mail service already is playing a crucial role in driving usage: Gmail accounted for 45 percent of the total time spent on Google in June.

In his personal blog, Yahoo technical evangelist Jeremy Zawodny wrote, "The company that does this stands to gain a lot of new users -- not just individuals, but small and medium sized business too."

Zawodny pointed out that Google also could integrate the calendar application into its Google Search Appliance used by businesses to provide internal and external search of corporate servers.

That strategy would bring it one step closer into Microsoft Windows territory.