Time for a calendar revival

Yahoo! Calendar betaOnline calendars have been around for more than a decade, and they’re tightly integrated with the leading Web mail services used by more than 680 million people per month (as of August, comScore). So it’s surprising to see how few people are actually using their Web calendars. Even the world’s most popular online calendar, Yahoo! Calendar, sees only a mere 8 million users per month.

So why, you may ask, is Yahoo! launching a new Yahoo! Calendar after ten years and why will it be better than your paper calendar or (gasp!) your desktop calendar? Because we think the time is right for these Web-based scheduling applications to finally take off. Here’s why:

  • Open standards like iCalendar and CalDAV make all online calendars work together so people can share their schedules without the hiccups of the past.
  • Broadband and mobile device ubiquity means you’re always connected, even if you don’t like to admit it. You need your busy life to be in order and for your calendar to be accessible wherever you go.
  • Web 2.0 technologies have made it possible to incorporate very cool visual effects and practical functions like event discovery.

Thanks to the powerful technology that our Zimbra team built, and our involvement with the online calendaring community, we’ve been able to add some much-improved technical functionality to the new Yahoo! Calendar. Now you can better connect with your friends and family –- even those who aren’t using Yahoo! Calendar. Our new calendar is interoperable with the other popular services, including those from Apple, Microsoft, AOL, Mozilla, and Google, so you can share your upcoming plans and important dates with friends.

With the new Yahoo! Calendar you can:

  • Subscribe to any iCalendar-based public calendar and add upcoming events and show times to your Yahoo! Calendar. This means you’ll be able to plan for a local concert when your favorite band comes to town and you’ll know when the next new episode of “Lost” will air.
  • Easily drag and drop events to reschedule appointments without having to refresh your Web page.
  • Set email, IM or SMS reminders for important activities and never miss a birthday or anniversary again.
  • Personalize your Yahoo! Calendar with interesting photos from Flickr to make your online calendar as visually appealing as it is productive.

And this beta is just the first in a series of updates you’ll see coming from us. Imagine being able to download your favorite sports team’s schedule, your class schedule, or your child’s t-ball schedule and being constantly on top of everything. That’s coming soon, along with additional event discovery features, including integration with Upcoming.org and other Yahoo! properties. And soon your Yahoo! Calendar will even auto-synch with Outlook and your iPhone.

So if you’re looking to be even more connected with your friends and family and never miss an important appointment, sign up for the Yahoo! Calendar beta at http://switch.calendar.yahoo.com. We’ll be adding users from this list over the next few weeks. And check out this screencast of the new Yahoo! Calendar, narrated by our product manager Herbert Wang.

John Kremer
Vice President, Yahoo! Mail