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Web-based calendaring service

A new service from WebCal allows anyone with Net access and a browser to set up a personal calendar and browse a public events database.

Software and service start-up WebCal today launched a free Web-based calendaring and event information service that allows anyone with Internet access and a browser to set up a personal calendar and browse a public events database.

After signing up for the service, users can track personal and business appointments, as well as track personal and professional events taking place in their neighborhood or in other cities around the country, the company said.

The company is hoping to attract customers who want to use network-based organizational tools and services without having to purchase or maintain them.

Analysts say, based on the success of public email offerings, the market for a public calendar service should be large.

WebCal's core technologies are Web-based tools for aggregation, integration, and distribution of events information. WebCal also uses EventEngine, its own 'Webcrawling' technology, to pull up public events from the Web. The company has also developed the Standard Events Entry and Distribution architecture (SEED), which makes it possible to parse data into appropriate formats from distribution on and offline. The SEED is used to create and maintain the EventsCal database--which contains about 750,000 entries.

Bruce Spector, president and CEO of the two-year-old company, said the company limited using Java to a minimum because it was too slow, and it is harder to support. Instead they support straight HTML, "so WebCal can run on even the oldest browsers."

A private entry option protects selected calendar items from being viewed by others. The package currently supports synchronization with the PalmPilot and Microsoft Outlook for offline calendaring and will soon support other applications and computer mediated services, according to the company.

Spector said that one of the biggest advantages of Web-based calendaring is that it can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and from any computer or PIM. The company maintains all of its services, databases, and servers in New York City, but has plans to open locations in Asia and Europe.