Busy week: Calendar sync and Contacts API

Lots of stuff going on this week. There were presidential primaries on Tuesday, and sounds like Apple will have some iPhone SDK news in just a few hours. In addition to that, this week saw:

A bunch of other stuff happened too. The Microsoft blogger that I read the most, Dare Obasanjo, is taking a blogging hiatus. I hope he returns to blogging in some form eventually. Microsoft also had a keynote where they announced a bunch of stuff, including a testable version of IE8. I tried installing this Silverlight thing on my computer and got this dialog box:

Silverlight .exe on a Linux computer = sadness

Does anyone know what to do with this BIN file? (This is on a non-Windows computer.)

Plus Yahoo introduced FireEagle, which is an API to that lets applications send/store/retrieve location information at Yahoo. I can imagine some fun ways to use that. Kudos to Yahoo for a neat idea, and we’ll see how it develops. Lots of stuff going on this week.

37 Responses to Busy week: Calendar sync and Contacts API (Leave a comment)

  1. Matt, It nice to know lots of new things from here. For the IE8, have you tested it? Is it worth to install it?

  2. Now, about that bin file, I guess you should bin it as the British might say. Then head over to the Novell Silverlight on Linux (Moonlight) project page: http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight … or better yet, insist that web developers avoid embedding proprietary Flash and the like in the websites they develop. As for Mac options, I’m not sure….

  3. Wow… the current head of Google’s Webspam, a former software engineer at Google, does not know what to do with a Windows executable on a non-Windows computer.

    Are you sure you are fit for the job?

  4. oh no not IE8… I didn’t need another bad browser to code for…

  5. Tried WINE?!

  6. Matt,

    “Lots of stuff going on this week.”

    And not a single word about “stuff” from Google WebSpam Team. Are you WebSpam folks having vacation or something 🙂

  7. I don’t think silverlight supports linux, they have partnered with Novell to provide open source Silverlight support.

    The project is called Moonlight and can be found here:

  8. Google calender syn is an wonderful work by Google. Now it’ll be easy for me to access my schedule from anywhere as all of my calendar views are always up to date, and I can choose whichever one I want to use.

  9. I’d be curious to see the two-way sync via Outlook/Google Calendar.

    We were attempting to do this back when we were exploring possibilities for project management ideas.



  10. I would guess that .BIN means it is a binary file. Seeing as it ends in .exe, it’s a Windows executable.

  11. I had installed the IE8, but i do not like it, ie6 is neat, i will uninstall ie8, and use ie6 and firefox again.
    Also i had installed the Silverlight, but i do not how to use it.

  12. Google Calendar and Outlook talking? Me very happy.

  13. Google Calendar and Outlook talking? Me very happy.

    Me too; the inability for my calendars to sync has been the bane of my existence for some time now.

    (I thought BIN was an old Mac compression format…?)

  14. BIN file could be one of two things, a binary (that they named very poorly with the .EXE extension) that you can run via the command line as:./Silverlight.exe
    Or it could be an actual Windows executable, which you can run in WinE:wine Silverlight.exe
    (Of course, get WinE installed through your package manager. It is worth your time to add their CVS to your package manager, too – bleeding edge is always good with WinE.)

    Anything beyond that, use Google to search for it. ;D

  15. What I would really like to see is a Google Calendar app for my Window’s Mobile Phone.

    Right now, via phone, Google calendar is only available thru the net, so it can only be accessed when I am online – very inconvenient. But carrying a data plan just to access my calendar is waay too expensive of a solution. So instead, I use the built in calendar and Schedule World/Funambol to sync my phone at home or whenever I have a free wireless connection.

  16. I installed IE8 and it seems to work fine … except for Google sites. 😉

    Seems to break the Video, Maps and Shopping sites. You Tube renders OK and Yahoo maps works. Seems Google is not a standards compliant as I thought. 🙂

    BTW — Silverlight is designed to compete with Adobe Flash player

  17. “What I would really like to see is a Google Calendar app for my Window’s Mobile Phone.”

    Lisa, if you’ve got two-way sync between Google Calendar and Outlook, aren’t there lots of programs to push an Outlook calendar to a cell phone? That would let you keep all your events in Google Calendar, but push the data to your cell phone, right?

    Harith, it’s safe to assume that we’re always busy.

    The How-To Geek, I was being a bit dry; it’s nice if Mono/Moonlight folks can code this up, but it’s weird that Microsoft isn’t doing it themselves, given that the web is a plurality of platforms and all should be well-supported for something like Silverlight to truly do well. Moonlight isn’t packaged for installation at this point, I believe.

    Danny, now that you’ve got a Mac maybe that issue will become less important for you over time? 🙂

  18. gogole calender and out look very nice i’ am paying with this as we have wanted to do somtbing like this but dont want to run a full on exchange setup to share calenders

  19. “Lisa, if you’ve got two-way sync between Google Calendar and Outlook, aren’t there lots of programs to push an Outlook calendar to a cell phone? That would let you keep all your events in Google Calendar, but push the data to your cell phone, right?”

    Yes, there is. But I am using Thunderbird w/Lightning. So I have to jump through a secondary hoop. I use SyncSW to sync my PC to Schedule World (SW), and Funambol to sync my phone to SW as well. Only after that, can I sync to Google Calendar, via SW. So, really, using Google at this point is redundant. But if it was possible, I’d much rather sync my PC & phone directly to Google, then it would be worth using. Which I’d like to do, as it is a more dynamic app to use.

  20. I was really looking for caldav and ldap. Why couldn’t already existing standards have been used? API’s are awesome, but standards exist in most clients already. Would have been a simple as adding a config, and your up and running.

    Now my best bet may be to write a thunderbird extension to hook into the api.

  21. Matt,

    “Harith, it’s safe to assume that we’re always busy.”

    Here is something to keep those youngsters of Google WebSpam Team more busy 🙂

    I’m aware that Google is able now to identify a big portion of paid links, but not all paid links.

    Is it safe to assume that Google still need webmasters/publishers cooperation and help in reporting paid links?

  22. Totally off subject and I know not your area, but what I’d like to see is when Google launches a beta test, instead of just turning it for people and the telling them if they don’t like it, turn it off, why not let us decided to turn it on in the first place.

    I’m referring to the adwords automatic macthing beta. Based on the example of someone looking for shoes is also going to get traffic of people looking for slippers, that is totaly stupid. You are paying for targeted traffic that you have spent a lot of time researching and know it will convert well, not traffic that some algorithm thinks is good. What happened to the famous quality score. It’s out the window with that.

    I miss the days when Google wasn’t a public company.

  23. Lisa, I’m sure that a few calendar folks read over here, so they might see your comment.

    Harith: yes, we absolutely continue to welcome reports.

    spamhound, I can ask folks about what the idea was behind that. I do know that there are some interesting ads projects where we believe we can help advertisers get better ROI/conversions. All other things being equal, I would have preferred an opt-in for that test as well, but there might have been reasons why it wasn’t feasible. Just as a simple example, there might have been optimizations that we identified that not every advertiser would benefit from?

  24. Hi Matt:

    The .bin file is generally used on Macs, often leading the the creation and mounting of a virtual disk to install the software from.

    Not sure if this is a holdover from the NeXT days or the pre OS X days. (Not sure if this is even relevant to your machine….


  25. The Silverlight joke was a cheap shot. Flash itself was Windows-only when it was first introduced and even now has significant issues on Linux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash#Flash_Player_on_various_platforms) .

    For a new technology like this, I would much rather appreciate someone developing something instead of beginning to find faults with it, whatever the company might be. Oh, and why begin at Silverlight, why not .NET?

  26. Well I hate to drift OT, and I’ve always tried to avoid veering into other Google issues on your blog, but it seems like we’re going that way anyway…

    Say you have ‘moderate safe search’ on (which I assume is the default because I don’t normally mess with that) and you do a totally innocuous search, say, for the word “nuns” because you want to find some information on the order to which your late aunt Sister Mary James belonged to, and right there at the top of the web search listings is a big ole picture of a topless young lady in half a nun’s habit, courtesy of (I guess) an article in Salon.com – to whom do you report such a thing, if indeed, such a thing should be reported at all?

    It’s not that *I* am offended, mind you. But it doesn’t seem terribly appropriate, and I bet my late aunt Sister Mary James would be offended, if she’d come across it.

    Heck, just think what Stephen Colbert would make of it, him being a Catholic of note and all.

    Just seems like if there’s going to be images in the search, there should be some more obvious place to report stuff like this.


  27. I’ll bet half the guys who try that search will end up becoming men of the cloth after seeing that nun.

    “Ummm…so, yeah…is the abstinence rule still in effect?”

    Dag, yo.

  28. Or maybe men of the uncloth.

  29. I was really looking forward to adding Google calendar sync to our setup at work. It would have been great for all of us. But, no luck on our Windows terminal server – the installer says it only supports XP and Vista.

    Please ask the dev team to look into a Windows 2003/2008 and terminal server version. I have lots of plug-ins for Outlook running already to runs fine on the setup – so it shouldnt be impossible.

  30. netmeg, if you promise not to tell Stephen Colbert, I promise to tell the images team about this.

  31. Matt,

    “I promise to tell the images team about this”

    Maybe Google need to establish a procedure to report “unsatisfactory” images on the serps. I imagine such procedure would contribute to improve Google search quality.

  32. Matt, thank you for all the tools you have provided over the years. This new Api contact tool is awesome. I always pass your information on to my associates. I appreciate the information that you made available at Pubcon 2007 in Vegas! See you next Ses-Pubon

  33. netmeg, if you promise not to tell Stephen Colbert, I promise to tell the images team about this.

    Ok. I *did* actually consider dropping him a note. In some cases, he’s easier to get ahold of than Google.

  34. IE8? Why don’t they fix IE7 fully first . . . too many bugs in our opinion!

  35. Had popped by for general information but got very excited about the possibility of snyching outlook and google calendar.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of ditching my old smartphone (2003) and just using google calendar as I’m online daily at work.

    Can’t wait to get home so I can check it out properly … I should come by here more often tbh :/

  36. Matt,

    Will we get a Google Sync for Thunderbird/Lightning combo?

    I also tried Silverlight in Windows, doesn’t work for some reason.

  37. MS have a history of making it easy to move to their platforms then locking you in – they hope that if enough sites adopt Silverlight that the web will become unusable unless you are running Windows.

    Then they will release a “patch” for all versions Windows that blocks Google.com completely.

    Then back to the world domination they had before.

    Maybe Google should de list sites that use silverlight from the rankings since they are not accessible to all? – what’s the use in returning sites to my search if I can’t view them?

    I think you know EXACTLY what do do with the Silverlight file… 🙂