Google Calendar isn’t just a tool to keep track of your own events. You can subscribe to a number of special calendars that automatically update with the latest weather, sports games, air times for your favorite TV shows, and more.
This is the sort of thing that a paper calendar could never do, and what makes digital calendars like Google Calendar so useful. Add some automatically updating calendars and you’ll wonder how people ever used paper calendars.
To enable a weather calendar in Google Calendar, click the gear menu and select Settings.
Scroll down and enter your location into the Location box. Select Celsius or Fahrenheit and click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
You’ll see weather icons for the next four days in your Calendar. Click the icon to view more information about the forecast. Google Calendar will automatically update the weather for you.
If you don’t already have the Contacts’ birthdays and events calendar enabled under Other calendars, you can enable it by clicking the arrow to the right of Other calendars and selecting Browse Interesting Calendars.
Click the More tab and click the Subscribe button next to Contacts’ birthdays and events.
These birthdays and anniversaries are pulled from your Google Contacts. You can click Contacts in Gmail, use the Contacts app on Android, or go to google.com/contacts to edit your contacts. Assign a birthday or another event to a contact and it will automatically appear on your calendar.
Google Calendar should have automatically subscribed you to a holiday calendar for your country. However, if you want to keep track of holidays for another country or subscribe to a Christian, Jewish, or Islamic holiday calendar, you you can do this from the Browse Interesting Calendars screen.
These calendars are automatically updated for you every year, so you’ll never have to worry about entering updated holiday dates yourself.
If you’re a fan of a particular sports team, you can add a special calendar to see that team’s upcoming games from the Interesting Calendars screen. There are calendars for teams from baseball, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, rugby, and soccer leagues.
Other Interesting Calendars
The More tab on the Interesting Calendars screen contains some other calendars you may be interested in. You can view phases of the moon and sunrise and sunset times for your current location. For a geekier option, you can even enable a special Stardate calendar.
You aren’t limited to the built-in calendars. You can add a calendar from any website that offers a calendar in ICS or iCal format.
For example, you can create an Episode Calendar account and subscribe to your favorite shows. Once you have, you can get an iCal link from the RSS/iCal feeds tab in your account’s settings page.
You can then add the calendar to your Google Calendar using the Add by URL option in the Other calendars menu. Google Calendar will automatically update the calendar, displaying air times for upcoming TV show episodes yo’re interested in right on your Google Calendar.
Other iCal Calendars
Any ICS or iCal calendar link you find on the web can be added to your Google Calendar. For example, classes and other groups that regularly meet for scheduled events may provide automatically updated calendars you can add. (They ought to provide them, at least!)
If you’d like an automatically updated calendar for something, plug it into Google along with “ics” or “ical” and you just may get a calendar you can use.
You can also use Google Calendar to share your calendars with friends and subscribe to friends’ shared calendars. Click the arrow to the right of one of your calendars and use the Share this Calendar link to share one of your calendars with a friend.
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.
- Published 10/12/12