Thursday, March 09, 2006

Google Calendar doesn't succeed until it integrates commerce

Sure Google calendar is going to be integrated in to Gmail. That makes it competition for Outlook, and everyone wants to see the two big dogs fight.

But, the reality is that even managing your calendar on Outlook isn't a natural activity: it takes discipline that most of us don't have to be truly useful.

With an API, someone else can integrate Google's CL2 to their application, but while these mashups are good prototypes for what you might do, I don't know any examples of mashups that graduate to products, except for those embraced by their platforms with full integration efforts.

The web 3.0 use for a calendar that is natural is for commerce knows date, time, place and context:

1. If I buy something, I want the shipping date on my calendar with a tracking link

2. If I'm making a reservation, I want to have that on my calendar with links to directions, reservation number and contact information for invitees

3. If I'm using a service, I want to have the appointment date, contact info, order reference.

Of course this is hard, but anyone who get's a critical mass will have tremendous network effects.

Google's opportunity here is to tie its Order Management System to CL2 in a natural way. A deeper integration of advertising, order management and calendar would be even more effective, if much further down the line.

The big win here is to create the "self managing" calendar that I don't even have to touch, but is always correct.


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