Important Announcement about SMS notifications in Google Calendar

Catching up with emails, I saw this email from the Google Calendar team:

Starting on June 27th, 2015, SMS notifications from Google Calendar will no longer be sent. SMS notifications launched before smartphones were available. Now, in a world with smartphones and notifications, you can get richer, more reliable experience on your mobile device, even offline.

Too bad I say.  SMS notifications is one of the features I use and love the most about the Google Calendar.  My smartphone is full of all kind notifications.  In this day and age, it seems, every up considers it it’s duty to add something to the notification bar.  I’ll never configure each one of those to have a different sound, vibration mode, or LED color.  I don’t really care about them no more.

The ONLY notification that I care about 24×7, since my sysadmin shift days, is the SMS.  An SMS wakes me up in the middle of the night.  An SMS draws my attention in the noisiest of places.  An SMS interrupts my meetings.  That’s the one and only instance notification that I respect.

And now, it’s disappearing from the Google Calendar…

Download your Gmail and Google Calendar data … soon or now

I am a well known Google fan.  But even those who call it an Evil Corporation and a Global Spy, can’t argue with the awesomeness of these news:

Starting today we’re rolling out the ability to export a copy of your Gmail and Google Calendar data, making it easy to back up your data or move to another service.

You can download all of your mail and calendars or choose a subset of labels and calendars. You can also download a single archive file for multiple products with a copy of your Gmail, Calendar, Google+, YouTube, Drive, and other Google data.

gmail data export

Most of the 20 GB of data I store on Google Drive is actually my email archive.  I’ve imported email into my Gmail from as early as 1998 – much, much earlier than Gmail was even born.  Having a way to export them all out in one go, without using clunky POP or IMAP is much appreciated.

Google Calendar wishlist

Google Calendar team recently ran a survey, asking users what is it that they like and dislike about the product and how to make it better.  Of course, I submitted my opinions, but, as always, better thoughts come after the action has been already taken.  Here is my two items wishlist for Google Calendar.

  1. [Update: not true anymore, see comments] SMS notifications for additional calendars.  Google Calendar only supports SMS notifications for your primary calendar.  But if you want to have a separate calendar for work and personal life, then you’ll have to choose which of these will send you messages to the phone.
  2. Related events.  Quite often I get into a situation where I need two related entries in the calendar.  For example, I might have a birthday party event and shopping for presents, or a beer session at the pub and table reservation.  Having just one event and a tonne of reminders for it doesn’t really work.  Having two events however makes it more difficult to manage them.  If the party was rescheduled, I’ll need to update my calendar to reflect the change, but I’ll also need to find and update the related event.  It would be so much more convenient if I could just relate one event to another and when I move one (a couple of days later, for example), the related event would reschedule itself as well.

What are the features that you want to see Google Calendar?

Back to Gmail-USSR

(please, forgive my untalanted Beatles reference)

My email requirements have changed again. This time the changes are so significant that I am re-considering GMail. It looks promising.

Why so? Well, the nature of my email discussions has changed so that GMail threads conversations handle my load best of all. Also GMail is nicely integrated with Google Calendar, which I am using extensively lately. And another feature that I immediately grew into is multiple account management.

If you feel like dropping me a line, is my GMail address. Also, if you need any invites, let me know – because I have a few.