Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Google Calendar and the Schedules of Strangers

I had heard that Google calendars had become popular, and are often used and shared publicly. Still, I hadn't experimented with it until today.

Some neat finds among the calendars:
- free summer events in New York City
- NetFlix release dates
- next airings of TV shows

Zooming into more personal uses, I wondered what I might be able to come up with by searching for "class schedule." Here's one that I found:

To link to the calendar itself here would be a bit tedious; you can mess around with it at http://www.google.com/calendar.

Assuming the calendar isn't for whatever reason a fakery, it's neat what we can imagine, based off of this calendar. There is a person named Adam who exists in the world. He keeps (or at least, at one point, started keeping) his class schedule on a Google calendar. It looks like he goes to some sort of music school. He has appointments schedule for Jazz Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and High Strings, among many others. There is a date scheduled for July 07, after which he will be at band camp.

The problems and qualms about privacy (and whether or not Google is, indeed, Evil, in this regard) abound. But those things aside, what is perhaps just as remarkable is to consider that the person that this calendar represents exists somewhere in the world, and these are some of the regular features of their day to day life. It reminds me of a Time magazine article that ran recently about services like Twitter, which argued that gathering and learning these tidbits of everyday life gives a unique angle on getting to know someone through small things over a long period of time. Not necessarily the same for Google calendars, but an interesting tool to help you think outside of yourself and consider what it means, the fact that there are so many individual lives and stories going on at any given point on the globe.