Yahoo unveils calendar with new features


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Yahoo wants to change the way you keep track of your schedule.

The company is rolling out new features for its Web calendar that it hopes will lure more of its webmail users.


Thanks to technology it got from last year’s acquisition of Zimbra, Yahoo has come up with ways to make it easier to share events with family and friends. You also can drag and drop appointments and get reminders about upcoming events via e-mail, instant message or text message.

A new feature that will remind people of their old wall or desk calendars: You can add photos from Flickr. Another bonus: You can share calendar information with friends even if they use calendars from competitors such as Google, AOL and Microsoft.

Eventually Yahoo Calendar will help users discover and track favorite events, such as concert dates, by integrating the calendar with and other Yahoo properties, said John Kremer, vice president of Yahoo Mail.

The beta version of Yahoo’s new calendar will be available to a limited number of people in the United States, Brazil, India, Taiwan and Britain and will roll out more broadly in coming months. It is part of Yahoo’s broader focus on luring more users by making their in-boxes ‘smarter,’ Kremer said. He added that more people are embracing online calendars with the spread of broadband and mobile devices and that the calendars are becoming easier to use.

Gartner analyst Matt Cain says Yahoo -- like other major Internet players -- is looking to get users to spend more time on its site. Gartner expects the volume of calendar use for consumer e-mail accounts to grow to 25% by 2012, from about 3% to 4% now. Most people still rely on paper calendars or their Outlook calendar at the office. But that is beginning to change, particularly among the younger set, Cain said.

Yahoo has set a new bar for Web calendars that Google, AOL, Microsoft and others will have to match, he said. ‘I think we are going to have an escalation in the calendar wars.’

‘It’s not a quantum leap for Yahoo,’ Cain said. ‘But it gives them bragging rights for the time being.’


-- Jessica Guynn