Google Calendar: Familyware?

I love – and I mean love – Google calendar’s interface. It’s just right. And Charlene Li’s observation that it’ll help her with planning a kid’s play date hits on an important, even critical, problem this solves: familyware.

What do I mean? Robin uses Outlook on her home computer, which syncs with her Blackberry. I use Outlook at work on my laptop, which syncs with my Treo and with salesforce.com. Unless I proactively invite her to an event on my calendar, she can’t see it. And she certainly doesn’t want every phone call I have to make, every meeting I’ve scheduled, cluttering her calendar. But she does want to see whether I might be able to work from home a certain day when she’s scheduling a doctor’s appointment; the fact that she can’t easily pull up my calendar is a serious impediment to either of us getting things done. (Usual result? I get an IM in the middle of a phone call asking, “Can you work from home on Thursday?” Note: these IMs are even more fun to get when you happen to have an Internet connection while giving a presentation to a client.)

So I think Charlene’s right: Google Calendar’s on to something with their ability to easily share calendars. But David Weinberger’s right, too, when he says that Google Calendar is “dead to me.” Why? Because it doesn’t sync with his Palm. He further points out, quite correctly, that “syncing is not the same as importing and exporting.” Right on. Solve the sync challenge, and this is a winner.

BTWfamilyware seems to be a huge gap in the software/service market. Surprising that this isn’t a common term, and that there aren’t obvious tools around to solve the challenge of families trying to share info, collaborate, etc. (OK, just found this, which suggests that Dutch families may be well-served… but what about the rest of us?!)