May 3, 2006: Wow, what can't Google do better than everyone else? Just took a look at Google calendar, their latest perpetual-beta offering. What's so impressive to me, as I was discussing with one of Giant Ant's clients, is not what they are able to make a web app do technically, but what they choose to make it do. The apps are behavior-changing. The calendar's "Quick add" feature, for example, lets you add events by typing in simple english (e.g. "Meet Wendy for coffee at Farley's next tuesday at 9am"). This is not a brand new idea (in fact, we designed something similar for a financial services client a few years back), and I'm sure other calendar-designers have thought of doing this, but Google had the hubris and ability to make it work and work beautifully. Other niceties include smooth drag and drop and resizing of events, keyboard shortcurts (Day, Week, Today, etc.), and the ability to share calendars (including editing, something Apple's mediocre iCal can't handle).
Come to think of it, the emergence of the GoogleOS is maybe most encouraging to me, as a Mac user, because it frees me from having to rely on Apple's often stunted offerings like iCal.