Google Inc. is introducing on Thursday a free Web calendar service for consumers to schedule events and share them with others, opening a new level of competition with rivals such as Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
Google Calendar, available at www.google.com/calendar, offers a variety of features to make using Web calendars as easy as desktop calendars such as Outlook, allowing users to "drag and drop" events from one calendar to another.
...perhaps the biggest breakthrough is the calendar's use of "natural language processing" technology that simplifies how events are entered. The feature allows users to type simple commands like "leave work today at 5 p.m." or "drinks Thursday with Elinor" that the system can interpret and automatically insert into the calendar.
Users of Google's free e-mail service Gmail may find the Google Calendar particularly useful. Google's software scours Gmail to recognise mentions of events and then automatically offers the user to add the date information to the calendar.