Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hey Google, events have a time and a location

Usually I whine, then post a solution; this one is all whine. Consider yourself warned. I use Google Calendar in my personal life because it's convenient and at work because we've bought into Google Apps. I travel frequently, which means I switch time zones. Life and work go on wherever I might be at the time.

The problem is that when I add events in Central Standard Time while I'm at work in Eastern Standard Time, Google Calendar assumes that the event is in EST. When I'm at home, Google notes that I've changed time zones and moves the event. This works if I do this only once, but since I make appointments months in advance and I jump across multiple time zones before the appointment, the time for the event shifts constantly.  Apparently, I'm not the only one with this problem.

The press have picked up on this issue. In a PCWorld article:
I talked to GCal product manager Grace Kwak, who acknowledged users' need to be able to set time zones for individual events, and said that her team will soon add that capability to the calendar. “We are working on it right now, and it’s something we think is a great feature addition.”
However, I found Kwak's response as to why Google Calendar doesn't handle time zones less than satisfying:
“Time zones are very complicated,” Kwak told me. “Google has one way of depicting time: We use a universal clock, so there’s like a universal time, and all the lines on the globe are in relation to that universal time.”
Really?  I wonder if she had to Google that?

I wonder how Microsoft Outlook, Palm Calendar, and all those other calendar apps figured out this tricky time zone stuff years ago.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my pet peeves, too. How hard is it for software to assume that if I enter an event with a time of 8am, I want to see it at 8am whenever I look at *my* calendar?