GCalendar + GMail + Search = new functionality!

So you've seen GMail and Google Talk (IM) being integrated which resulted in Google Talk being placed right there in your GMail. That was ok. Nothing terribly new or innovative though.

Now try this:

  1. sign up for GCalendar and wait a few days (for the new menu bar to pop up in the top left of your GMail window). The two are now connected.
  2. Now send yourself an email (to GMail) in which you invite yourself to dinner tomorrow night. Read that email in GMail.
  3. Notice the "Add to calendar" offer on the right to automatically add an event to your GCalendar based on the invitation in the email? Notice that it has "read" your email and correctly identified your details, the date and time. Cool huh?

GMail and Calendar

It's thanks to GMail being integrated with GCalendar.

Think about that for a moment. How did it know that the email contained an invitation to dinner, the day and the time? The natural language ability of the Google search engine is being integrated into the other apps.

They appear to have a remarkable ability to understand commonly spoken language, if they can "read" that the email is an invitation and can correctly pick the event, the day and time and offer to add it to GCalendar.

What if they keep doing this right across all their applications? I just blogged about Office 2.0 in prepration for this post, because this is where the action really happens. Those Office 2.0 applications all stand alone and don't integrate (think MS Office or Open Office). But further than that, they have no hope of replicating Google's ability to understand natural language either, so they won't be able to compete with the functionality that Google provides.

I'm suggesting that Google will integrate their technologies in really useful ways BECAUSE they can understand natural language so well. The upcoming WinFS wanted us users to "mark up" our documents so computers can understand the contents of the documents, but Google Desktop forged ahead and learned to understand our documents – not needing us to mark them up. Natural language came to market first – and WinFS got canned.

The only remaining two questions are:

  1. When will GOffice arrive and what will the integration be like?
  2. Will Microsoft be able to integrate their natural language stuff (if they have any) into their Office Live stuff?

I'd like to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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One Response to “GCalendar + GMail + Search = new functionality!”

  1. Josh Says:

    Google’s semantics aren’t perfect. I received an email notice letting me know about a meeting (“meeting” was in the subject line) with a time, date, and location for the meeting buried in the body of the email. Since Google couldn’t figure it out was an event, I had no opportunity to add it to my calendar.

    When Google correctly identifies events it’s slick. What it does not…there’s no easy way to add the event to your calendar. It’s this lack of a second best fallback option which I find lacking.


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