Probably owing to my background as a groupware purveyor (I used sell Lotus Notes solutions, and was also a Microsoft Product Manager and evangelized MS Exchange – for which I studied certification for), I am a heavy believer in the Calendar, the central focus of a groupware solution after the Inbox.
Company groupware is one of the most difficult to implement not only because of its complexity, but there’s also a great deal of politicking involved, forcing programmers to do the one thing they hate most – talk to the user.
See, groupware is software that directly affects how people work, the reason why it is both powerful and feared / avoided like the plague. Hence, coders need to know how to make it work for users, often a difficult task because really, no one can really say what they want themselves.
It’s a constant hit or miss, general or specific, go large scale or microscopic plan of attack, unique to each company and in the end the same for all, all the while trying to convince company honchos that the promise of increased productivity will lead to the proverbial ‘savings’ in the end (at which point I saw how MS terrific advertising machine work its magic, which is getting execs who should know better to sign ginormous checks in pursuit of a MS ‘ideal’ workplace).
At any rate I digress. This post is about Google Calendar, which along with Gmail, Gtalk, and the news that Google is now an ICANN Registrar – essential if in case they wish to offer domain hosting, which in turn is essential to run hosted applications like groupware – (sorry could only find a Feb. 2005 link. If you’ve newer news please let me know?), seems to be amassing the tools to eventually offer company groupware – like most Google solutions, likely free, and paid for by ads.
If this is really going to happen, then heaps of praises to Google for doing something that Yahoo should have but did not. Yahoo Calendar, My Yahoo, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Small Business etc. are all tools for that purpose, but they stopped short for some reason.
If however, this is not Google’s direction (and I’ve been wrong many times before about them, so I’m not gonna even try), then they should.
Remember how it is we’d joke about one day we’d rule the world? Those guys at Google are actually doing it. If that is their goal, hosting groupware is just about as all-encompassing a solution I can think of to get a an organization’s files onto their servers for them to do whatever it is they want with them (which is again fodder for another article).