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Calgoo is a calendar application that interacts with your online Google Calendar so that you can manage your life without always being connected to the Internet. While it sounds very appetizing having a software application that prevents you from having to manage your calendar only online, in the past (first release and second release) I have not been very fond of Calgoo. The biggest reason that I didn’t like the application was that the interface seemed a little clunky and the amount of screen space available for the calendar itself was not very much on an averaged size monitor.

For the last several months I have been involved in a closed Beta process that consisted of around 275 participants. We were able to see new features as they were rolled out and I’ll be the first to say that the things they implemented along the way were really great. However, the interface for the most part remained the same and I never felt as though I could use the application on a daily basis.

Calgoo Beta

When I downloaded the newest version of Calgoo that was released today I was shocked to say the least. They had removed the right sidebar from the screen and combined it with the one on the left side! I couldn’t believe what a difference that made and honestly Calgoo has just taken a tremendous step forward. If that right sidebar had still been in place like previous releases I am confident that this review would not be a positive one.

Despite what I consider to be a huge visual change, there are also a lot of new features included with this release of Calgoo:

  • Add/manage tasks – Very cool, but the tasks don’t synchronize with Google Calendar.
  • Synchronization with Outlook Calendar
  • Subscribe to iCal calendars
  • Compatible with Google Apps for your domain (both free and Premium versions)
  • Modify Calendar options – Right-clicking on a calendar will present you with some quick-access options, such as changing the color of a calendar.
  • Dragging and Dropping – Drag and drop madness! Everyone loves being able to drag and drop things around the screen and now you can do it with Calgoo. This makes things feel more natural I guess you could say.
  • Minimize to System Tray – Took me a little while to figure this one out, but then I realized that the “Close” option in the File menu will actually minimize to the System Tray. I would have expected it to say “Minimize to Tray” instead.
  • Themes – There are now 3 themes available: Blue, Silver, and Black. I like them because they’re not very overwhelming and I would be happy using any of them. Personally though, I have chosen the black one.
  • Mini Day Summary – I really like this Mini Day summary thing. I was confused at the purpose initially, but after learning about it I have really grown to love it. So what is it? Basically when you click on a day in the month view it will show you a list of everything scheduled for that day in the Mini Day sidebar module. I originally didn’t think this was useful, but then I found a day that had more items scheduled than could actually fit in the small calendar space in the month view. I guess it is hard to explain, but when you click on a day that has 5 or 10 appointments scheduled I’m sure you’ll see what I’m talking about.
  • Appointment Dialogue – This is pretty cool…now you can schedule your appointments in a popup window instead of having to used the cramped sidebar item. Sure the sidebar item let’s you add things a little quicker, but everything is spaced out a lot better with the popup window.
  • Reminders – Calgoo now supports the use of reminders. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m wondering what kind of notification it gives a user when displaying a reminder.

Overall, this version of Calgoo not only has a more simplified interface, but it also has a large list of new features that make managing your calendar easier and more powerful. The calendar is cross platform (runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac) because it is written in Java, but there is one thing you should know if you’re using Vista that I had to find out the hard way. Calgoo needs to have Java Runtime Environment 5 installed and by default Sun wants Vista users to install version 6 since it is newer and more compatible. Once I manually installed Java 5 I got Calgoo up and running without any issues.

Now for the screenshots. Below are thumbnails of screenshots from Calgoo Beta version 0.34 so click on any of them for a fullsize version. From left to right you’ll see the main calendar display, appointment editor, task list, task editor, and the preferences:

Calgoo Beta Calgoo Beta Calgoo Beta Calgoo Beta Calgoo Beta

If you’ve yet to try out Calgoo, I would say there hasn’t been a better time. Head on over to the Calgoo site to sign-up and download their latest Beta release.