New Google Calendar Gadget – YAGCG

I’ve been quite frustrated that Google hasn’t produced a usable gadget for their own calendar system. I’ve tried tons of them.

So, in the long tradition of naming applications that should never had to come into being but for the failings of those that came before, here is YAGCG – Yet Another Google Calendar Gadget.

A simple Google Calendar Gadget with some advantages over the official one.

Install on your iGoogle personalized homepage: Add to Google

Here are some of the main pros and cons vs. the best official Google gadget:

  • Con: You must “Edit Settings” and add the ids of all the calendars you want to track. With the official gadget, it automatically grabs all your calendars from gcal
  • Con: To access your private calendars (e.g. your main one), you must stay logged in to gcal. When your login times out, you must pop over to gcal to refresh it before the gadget will display
  • Con: Doesn’t yet have Quick Add (although if there is interest, it will)
  • Pro: It loads much quicker. The official gadget locks up Firefox for 15 seconds or more and spikes your CPU. YAGCG puts the workload on Google’s servers instead (where it should be, of course).
  • Pro: Easy to quickly scroll ahead to future events. The official gadget only shows a day at a time
  • Pro: While you must add the ids of all calendars you want to track, that also means YAGCG has the flexibility to track a subset, or a completely different set, of calendars than what you track at gcal.

For me, the pros greatly outweigh the cons (the loading issue is a blocker).

If you are a gcal/iGoogle user, have you also struggled with the calendar? Any other pros/cons or feature requests for you? Feedback welcome.

Comments (16) to “New Google Calendar Gadget – YAGCG”

  1. Bernie Thompson, you’re my hero!

    Seriously, these are the very reasons I stopped using the official gadget a while back.

    SO MUCH FASTER! And a more compact feeling agenda. Scrolling to the future is bueno.

    But: adding calendars was a pain. First, I couldn’t figure out what to put in the Add field – most everything else wants an ical or xml url, so I tried all permutations of that first. Then, I noticed the email address-like id on the calendar settings tab (I’d never noticed it before). I’d love either some better instructions, or some better mechanism.

    Also: I want colors. I’ve got a bunch of private & subscribed folders so I’m used to everything being very colorcoded. Without the colors, I feel like I can’t find anything, diminishing my feeling of it’s usefulness.

    I got lost with the scroll bar because I can scroll into the distant past. I’d like a button that zips me back to today. Could be tiny text like the text that comes up at the top when you go into the past.

    Related: I’d like today to be highlighted very differently from every other day. It needs to be visually instantly recognizable. Maybe light/less-light red background stripes?

    Great potential in this gadget!

  2. Another tiny nit: since days have a different background, I don’t think the day headers need to be bold.

    That may just be me because overuse of bold is one of my peeves. If normal weight doesn’t distinguish headers enough, maybe a slight outdent?

  3. Great feedback! The color-per-calendar enhancement is checked in! (it will make it to everyone as Google’s caches refresh).

    The “Today” button and extra help for adding calendars are great ideas that I’ll look at now.

    Some of the others that involve formatting inside the scrolling agenda view might not be doable — I’m limited by what the Google widget I’m calling can do.

    Thanks again! Glad this is helping with some of your long-standing issues with other gcal gadgets!

  4. So much better in color! Thanks!

    Another suggestion: Give me a setting to control the height – right now it’s huge. Since it’s scrollable, I’d want to set it to about 5 lines. I’m all about minimal default footprint with explorable interfaces.

  5. Noticing a login issue: the login timeout seems not to be the usual several weeks the google cookie lasts, but just for one session.

    When I run firefox, YAGCG says I don’t have permission to view calendars. I go to gcal – which shows up fine without login challenge. Hit back & refresh – now YAGCG works fine and will continue to do so until I close firefox. Close & immediately restart firefox, and we’re back at square 1.

  6. Yes, the login behavior is going to follow that pattern — it’s tied to how Google’s embedded calendar widget works.

    One thing that’ll be done to ease this is a quick link to open Gcal in another window (and thus refresh the cookie particular to the embedded view).

    Right now, I’m looking at having links above the agenda:

    “Today” to reset the agenda view back to having today’s events at the top
    “Full View” to open gcal in a new page/tab
    “Quick Add” to add an event

    Wording look right?

  7. Hmm.. Time for google to give more API. That’s frustrating.

    Wording looks good.

  8. [...] 26th, 2007 (8:00am) Mike Gunderloy No Comments Google, Meet Google – YAGCG is a strictly unofficial gadget for adding Google calendars to your iGoogle home page. It [...]

  9. [...] Google, Meet Google – YAGCG is a strictly unofficial gadget for adding Google calendars to your iGoogle home page. It has pros and cons compared to the official gadget, but according to its developer the chief reason for its existence is that it actually offers acceptable performance in Firefox – something the official gadget does not. [...]

  10. Great gadget! However, it would be cool if it was possible to change the height of the gadget (i.e. the number of events).

  11. Would this work on google sidebar as well? How is this managed?

  12. Still working on your gcal gadget? Was going to add it then in feedback looked like it was abandoned. Will give it a tgry but guessing it will be too buggy if not updated since 2009. Cheers!

  13. Hi Alex – I’m not adding features, but I do use it on my own home page. No updates since 2008, actually – a credit to the google gadget framework that it’s stable over time! :)

  14. This calendar gadget is far and away better than the official calendar gadget. Awesome work!

    One little question. I’m noticing that some of the colors in the gadget come up as different colors than the ones I’ve specified in my “real” calendar. Any thoughts on how to fix this?

    Thanks and great work!

  15. Hi Sean – one of the tradeoffs of the method the widget is built on, is we don’t have any way to know the colors google assigns in calendar.

    So we assign a unique color to each calendar, but unfortunately it’s not possible to specify an exact color, or have it automatically match what native google calendar has assigned!

    Thanks for the great feedback, though!

  16. how about plugging it into a website with embed code?

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