Microsoft Windows Live Calendar
Microsoft Windows Live Calendar
Windows Live Calendar is the newest entry among the calendars we looked at for this review. In fact, Microsoft’s Calendar service is still in beta and as such it might well change considerably before it’s considered to be a final product.
That said, Microsoft hasn’t skimped on Windows Live Calendar offering up a strong competitor to both Yahoo and Google, though it’s still a little rough around the edges. The default settings in Live Calendar only allow for one reminder time (Yahoo has two and Google has no limit). Still, there is an option to get alerts via Windows Live Instant Messenger and email. In the beta we tested, there wasn’t an option to get a daily calendar sent via email.
Adding event in Live Calendar is as easy as double clicking the date cell or clicking the Add button. Live Calendar does not offer the same degree of event recurrence options as Yahoo does, but still Microsoft has got the basics with daily/month/yearly repeats. They’ve also added in something else that is somewhat unique with an option that lets the user determine how many times an event should be repeated.
It’s also very easy to setup up multiple local calendars inside of one Live calendar. As is the case with Google, multiple calendars are simply managed with a selection box that lets the user select or de-select a calendar to be viewed.
One annoying thing with Windows Live Calendar, though, was how the monthly view is more than a monthly view. For example, in the picture above notice that for the month of January (top left small calendar) Microsoft shows six weeks. In the main view, instead of just staying in January 2008, it shifted from Dec 30 to Feb 2.
While it might be interesting to see a little of the month prior and the month next, frankly when I want to look at a January calendar I want to see January.
Live Calendar also suffers from the same event detail issue that Google has where long event titles are cut off instead of flowing to the next line (as they do in Yahoo).
The sharing functionality on Windows Live calendar offers the typical public/friends/private options that Yahoo and Google have. Unlike Yahoo and Google, though, there is no obvious way to invite someone to an event.
What Live does a little differently, though, is that it allows you to send a private calendar address to a friend if you so choose. The private address is not protected by a username/password but it isn’t something that is likely to be guessed.
Microsoft offers the ability to import any ICS file formatted calendar directly into Live calendar. Unfortunately, the beta does not provide any Microsoft Outlook synchronization capability beyond a simple import. If you’re an Outlook 2003 user you might be out of luck too as there is no simple way to import calendar data from that version of Outlook into Live Calendars. Outlook 2007 offers an ICS export which Outlook 2003 does not. (check out the help doc from Microsoft: http://help.live.com/help.aspx?mkt=en-us&project=Calendar&querytype=keyword&query=radnelac_tropmi_ourt&tmt=main&domain=calendar.live.com)