Current feverish anticipation about a Google calendar (beta) begs the question: How broad will Google calendar interoperability support go? It would not have to go far to become a bell whether and functional leader in the field.
Based on a new BriefingsDirect podcast with Scott Mace, author and thought leader behind Calendar Swamp, the inertia afflicting shared extranet group calendaring will soon get a nudge toward broader inclusion -- Google or no Google.
There is a huge potential market for a good and broadly sharable calendar. Oh, but to be able to synch all my family and work calendars up to one managed and simple-UI time chart in the cloud. Oh, to be able to share granularly appropriate slices of my calendar (securely and with privacy backstops) with my cohorts and loved ones ... maybe even some (local?) merchants. Oh, but isn't there a massive wave of productivity waiting to be unleashed by the organization or standard effort the makes calendaring truly a group sport!
I don't have any news on Google's calendar intentions, but I surely believe that done properly contextually placed unobtrusive ads that also take into account location and time coincidence benefits has the hallmarks of making Google's valuation remotely plausible.
That's right, as a consumer and SOHO worker, I'll make an implicit deal with a Google calendar: You give me a calendar that I can easily use to centralize my client-server-bound-and-tied calendars, and I'll give you a peek into what I'm doing, where, and when. That gives you the opportunity to deliver to me appropriate products and services based on my real needs in real time and space. Yup, I think this is a good deal. If you abuse it, I'll leave. But if it works, it may be one of my most used and valued applications/services.
And it would only be the start. For once the managed mass interoperable calendar service is unleashed it could well become a platform on which to weave workflow, combine business and family processes, and ultimately provide a common bond, a neutral third-party for all sorts of ecommerce (B2C, B2B, C2C) activities and productivity.
Take a listen to Scott Mace in Promise and Perils of Calendar Interoperability as he educates us on the state of calendar standards. I expect that we'll need to update the discussion when (if) Google plays its calendar (beta) card. And can Microsoft and Apple then be far behind (albeit more open than in the past)? I sure hope so.