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:
We came across your blog post about sharing Google Calendar and wanted to follow-up with you: https://philfreo.com/blog/big-security-flaw-in-google-calendar/
We understand that you’re concerned about the security of Google Calendar because you can see all of your friend’s events although he only shared his free/busy information with you.
We suspect that the reason why you can see the details of your friend’s events is because his events are marked as public events. When events are marked as public events, other users can see them even if the calendar itself is set up as a private calendar.
To resolve this issue, can you please ask Bryan to check the privacy settings of his events? To do so, he’ll need to click on events, then select “edit event details” > “Options” > “Privacy.” Under “Privacy”
section, if “Public” is selected, he needs to change the selection to “Default” or “Private.”
Lastly, we understand that many users want the ability to create one main calendar that they can share with their friends without clattering their friends’ calendars. We also understand that our printing features need some improvements. We really appreciate your constructive feedback on Google Calendar and will keep them in mind as we work to improve the quality of Google Calendar.
The Google Team
I did have Bryan check and indeed, the settings on each individual event had been set to “Public” rather than to “Default”. While I’m still not sure how that happened (he didn’t do it on purpose), it is much more relieving to know there was a good reason for what otherwise looked like a security hole.
Additionally, it is great to see Google say that they understand the other problems with Google Calendar (such as multiple calendars per person cluttering a friend’s calendar, as well its very ugly print interface). I now have more confidence that it is something they are working to fix.
I have now integrated Google Calendar on another website and am very pleased with how easy it is to give multiple people access to add/edit events. Additionally, subscribing to the calendar’s events make it a wonderful way for people wanting to keep up with the latest events from an organization without having to constantly check back. This was the perfect solution to the previous way it was happening: dozens of email reminders sent a week via the listserv.
However, since Google apparently is listening, I might as well point out a few more things I’d like to see changed in their iframe page:
- More styling options. For example, there is no way to change the color of the month name from black, and it looks very bad on a grey background.
- Event wrapping. With often < 700 pixels to work with, you can’t see much in terms of detail when the events don’t wrap. I would much rather lose vertical/height space than how it currently is.