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Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Friday, 8 February 2008

Click tips: Web calendars

Rob Freeman
By Rob Freeman
Click tip-ster

Rob Freeman, Click's very own Mr Fixit, troubleshoots your PC problems and helps you get the most out of your computer. This week he looks at some of the web's best online calendars.

I have talked before about the browser wars, this is not the time to go over it again, because there is a much more pressing conflict going on. The web calendar wars are on us.

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Online calendar applications first became all the rage as part of the dot.com boom in the late 1990s. There were many names back then, and most are just dead URLs now, although a few of the lucky ones were bought by big names.

But for years, the analysts have been saying that free online calendars would be as popular as web e-mail accounts. Well, it has been seven years and only now that is starting to be true.

Why? I think it is because they have been tricky to use and mostly stand alone, not integrating with other services or devices.

However, the battle to control your time is back and Google is on the frontline.

GOOGLE CALENDAR

Google Calendar

Google Calendar (www.google.com/calendar) was launched in April 2006 and one of its differences is that you can have several calendars running at once. And you can share them with anyone else who has a Google login.

Multiple calendars mean you can have a calendar for work, one for your family, a personal calendar and maybe a group calendar to share with your friends.

You can overlay them all on top of one another to see where you have clashes, or show them individually.

And one feature I only discovered by accident while playing with my phone is a specific version for mobile phones.

You do not get access to every function but it clearly tells you what you have got planned for the day.

You can tell the calendar to alert you about any event, by sending you an e-mail, a pop-up message on the calendar page, or if you give Google your phone number it can send you an SMS text message to your phone.

KIKO

Kiko website

As befits the Web 2.0 model, today's online calendars are all about collaboration and sharing.

Kiko (www.kiko.com) is proof that a small start-up and go head to head with big and powerful corporations.

It will send updates to instant message accounts and creates RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds for appointments so you can link them into any other service or websites which supports RSS.

30 BOXES

30 Boxes

The site I have heard the most buzz about recently is 30 Boxes (www.30boxes.com).

30 Boxes has some intuitive features. If you start a new entry such as a birthday you can enter an event as just one line and as long as it has got enough information, it will make a guess as what you mean.

And very web 2.0, 30 Boxes integrates into other web applications. You can send updates to Twitter, to your weblog and it has a plug-in to Facebook, so the events which you want to share come up on your newsfeed for your friends to see. If you want them to of course.

Not that they need much help, online information managers are slowly becoming the death of personal digital assistant (PDA) devices.

With one of these your information is only available while this is with you, and while it still has battery power.

Online versions are accessible where ever there is an internet connection and can be accessed on a variety of devices.




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