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Google Calendar: Not a PDA killer yet

We love its ease-of-use and Gmail integration, but until it works with UK mobile phones and syncs with Outlook we won't be putting down our PDAs

Have you ever bought a PDA and spent the first month religiously adding calendar entries, but then given up, frustrated with dodgy handwriting recognition and the fiddly keyboard? If so, then Google Calendar could be the service for you, especially as it's free. 

Crave has been a Gmail addict for a long time and loves the way we can find ancient emails by searching on keywords. We now use it as our virtual memory, emailing ourselves morsels of useful information -- gone are the days of scraps of paper littering our desks. The fact we can now do similar things with Google Calendar is so good that our palms got hot and sweaty trying out the features.

We loved the fact that you can add entries to the Calendar without filling in tedious forms, but weren't as impressed with the Gmail integration. It works okay with simple emails you send yourself, such as 'Lunch with Bob on Friday', but doesn't do well at scraping event information from long, gossipy emails. Google wins a big gold star, though, for even attempting this and we're confident that it will improve over time.

Calendar has been out for just over a month, so you have no excuse for not trying it out yet -- especially those who live in the US, where Google has just launched a feature that lets you text yourself to add or retrieve calendar entries. The cheapskate in us likes this, as it lets us turn our phones into PDAs, and text messaging is much easier to do on the fly than fiddling about with a stylus.

Unfortunately, Google PR refused to give us any hint of when mobile integration will be arriving in Blighty. It was keeping equally schtum about syncing with Microsoft Outlook, although it initially said it would be available soon. Once all that's released, we'll pit Google Calendar against a PDA to see whether the free service could be used as a PDA replacement.

Check out the Google Calendar service here. -IM