Monday, July 4, 2011

Google updates Calendar, gives it the Google+ look and feel

After the (somewhat) wide release of Google+ this week and a sneak peak at the new Gmail you’d think Google was ready to sit back and enjoy the long weekend. But people who have logged into Google Calendar recently have found out that that’s not the case–GCal has been updated as well. As seen in the gallery below, Google Calendar has been updated to match the design of Google+ and the Gmail “Preview” theme.

Aside from the new look, which has a lot of white space and feels much more “floaty” than we’re used to GCal being, the redesign brings a few new features. These include a Quick Add tool within the Create button that lasts users add-in events with Gcal’s standard commands (Example: Lunch with Tom 2pm 7/11). The My Calendars and Other Calendars areas were cleaned up a lot as well–their backgrounds were removed and color-coding is restricted to their pulldown menus (under the arrows). My/Other Calendars are collapsed by default, and the mini calendar (in the left column) is collapsible as well.

In other, smaller changes the Print and Refresh buttons are icons, as opposed to text links, indicator icons (like an alarm clock) are only displayed when an event is moused over, and some excess Save/Back buttons were removed.

Overall the intention here seems clear: Google Calendar’s designers want to move to something that was cleaner, less cluttered, and–most of all–unified with the Google’s other tools. As GCal has gotten more powerful and more widely used there has been some feature creep and now elements that people don’t need (like that mini calendar) can be hidden from view. The month view is still cluttered if you have more than 3 events in any given day, but the “+X more” popup is cleaner and then Day/Week views are still very usable if you have a busy schedule.

For their part Google notes that changes were made in order to make Gcal more focused, more useable on different devices, and easier to use.

Everyone out there have the new Calendar? If so, how do you like it?

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