Issues with Google Calendar

Update: Google responds.

Google has been doing a great job innovating lately through the integration of their products (Docs and Spreadsheets, Calendar and Gmail, etc). This integration, however, has not come without security issues arising. TechCrunch has covered several of them – but I believe I have found another…

This may be hard to believe, but I can view unauthorized and unshared events on my calendar. Let me explain:

My friend Bryan has a Google Calendar with the following security/sharing settings:

GCalendar Security - Bryans's settings

Note that, as you would imagine, he only wants me to see free/busy information for his schedule.

And MY settings for HIS calendar are as follows:

GCalendar Security - Phil's settings

The settings all look correct – I should be able to see only free/busy information about his events. But this is not the case – I can actually see all his event details.

I have had him unshare and reshare his calendar, with no better results. Luckily, Bryan and I are friends, so it is not a big deal that I can see his event details. But one can only imagine how this could be a big deal when your calendar has sensitive appointments.

I have to know – can anyone else reproduce this huge security bug?

Another problem I have with Google Calendar – and maybe I am not using it the way developers intended for me – but here’s what I do: I like to have different events in my life categorized in different calendars. Then, I can show/hide a certain set of events (personal, business, school, etc) quickly, and I can see by color coding how much time I am spending in each category.

The problem arises when I want to let someone else see my free/busy schedule on their own calendar. This means, not only do I have to share 5 calendars instead of 1, but that person then has to keep 5 calendars in their list. Why can’t there be a way to combine calendars into 1 for all my friends wanting to see free/busy status, or event event details? It is a big clutter for them to have 5 calendars just from mine to see when I’m free.

Lastly, I’m unhappy with the PDF that the Calendar generates to print both the month and week view. I am not against the idea of generating a PDF for printing complex designs – it is a good idea – but their implementation leaves much to be desired. The design and UI of the online version of the calendar is beautiful, however it seems as if the print layout was something thrown together a day before the product was to be released.

My biggest qualms are 1) it’s ugliness, 2) lack of details for events (it doesn’t even show the location of the event), and 3) lack of consideration for many events (when I have overlapping events sometimes it creates a box with no event name shown).

Google is doing a great job with many things, that is why when I notice issues like the above, it really stands out.

Update: Google responds.

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1 Comment

  1. Phil Freo - Website Design, Development, & Blog - Jacksonville/Gainesville, FL said,

    November 1, 2006 @ 9:50 am

    […] As a follow-up to my post noting some issues I’ve found with Google Calendar – namely what seemed to be a security hole, I was extremely pleased to see an email from Google on the matter: […]

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