I use it with Thunderbird, and DavDroid (now DavX) to handle all my events and contacts (SMS contacts even show up correctly in Hangouts on Android phones)
I realize GCal is rarely ever down, but they do harvest all your data to sell you shit.
Here's a basic Dockerfile for Radicale if you want to try it out:
But it does mean that you can't take any individual employee's word about what they are doing today. Individuals change. Managers change. People come and go. A fundamental part of the company mythos is that you as an individual know more about what goes on in the company than you really do. So unless you are acting in an official capacity to speak for the gmail and calendar teams, you should hush.
If the letter of their agreements permits GOOG to use your data for <X> purpose, then as a user of the service you should assume that they are.
It's not necessarily that I doubt you, it's just that the press release is pretty specific that consumer GMail isn't going to be used for ad customization from now on, and it seems like if it was everything in G-Suite that would be mentioned somewhere.
I don't suppose there's a list Google maintains anywhere online that shows which of their own products they use to aid with ad targeting?
Plenty of other tech companies have lied, changed their policies, or just plain screwed up. Privacy and security are hard, and everybody has their hands out. As a consumer, there's no way for me to verify anything.
As Woz said (sort of), "Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window." When I make a backup to an external FW disk on my desk, or sync my phone with my computer over a USB cable, I know exactly what data is going where. The whole point of The Cloud being a cloud is that we don't know what's happening in it. It's inherent to the architecture. "Trust but verify" minus the "verify".
What percentage of people actively use Google Calendar? Out of those what percentage put useful information in there? How much commercial value does this information have?
If I put "Go fishing" into my calendar for next Monday, Google knows:
1) This person fishes.
2) This person probably buys fishing related products.
3) We know this person lives in X and fishes there, and business Y has a website selling similar products.
4) This person is going fishing on a Monday afternoon (for example) so they are probably off work on Mondays or afternoons.
Let's say, I also put in meetings. "Meet with Joe about building a website for his company."
1) This person builds websites
2) Uses hosting services
3) Buys domains
4) Probably codes
5) Must need project management software
6) And all other things typically related to people in this field...
Knowing someone's life this intimately is incredibly valuable.
But... why wouldn't they? Google already is heavily invested in doing this kind of parsing because a lot of their calendar entries are integrated with AI that figures out when you need to leave your house, how to add entries dictated over voice, how to auto-add new appointments based on emails without duplicating entries, and so on.
So Google already needs to know how to parse your calendar data in intelligent ways. And the way that data would be integrated into ads is not going to be all that different from the way Gmail data was processed.
Who cares if it's a small fraction of users? It's basically free data, being consumed by technologies that Google already has to build anyway -- and for the few users that do heavily use calendar, you're getting a ton of data on their everyday schedule.
Why build a set of tools that can do all of this parsing and then say, "nah, we're not going to deploy it everywhere."?
> What percentage of people actively use Google Calendar?
I don't know. My hunch is that it's not a fringe product though.
It's been a while since I checked, but I remember either Calendar or Keep being the default calendar app on Android. What percentage of Android owners use the built-in calendar on their phone to set reminders?
You work for Google and are apparently "pretty sure" that Calendar isn't used for ad targeting but don't actually know, how is a consumer supposed to know this stuff?
I want to believe you, I like the story you are telling. Unfortunately you like it too and are not being objective.
Enough to make it worth continuing to operate the service, clearly. Do you really want to go down that road?
It's also a freemium product, because you can pay for gSuite.
One reason for using Gmail (which is generating ad money) is the integration with calendar. Getting travel bookings automatically in calendar is useful.
About 2yrs ago I booked a flight to my relatives for a Christmas trip and pasted the info into my Google calendar. Within hours, I got google calendar notices about not having confirmed my hotel reservation. It was VERY annoying as it was borderline deceptive, presented as if I'd already gone through the whole reservation process but failed to confirm.
It was definitely a Google notice, and a Google confirmation process when I clicked through to confirm if I wanted this service. I shut it off as best I could find and told them I wanted no part of any such deceptive marketing, even though I would perhaps have wanted a service that made it clear that I was being offered an option, not a fake reminder.
I saw nothing of it since, but then I'd shut it off, so I should have no data. So, it seems that Google has siloed projects that not all employees know about...
It's well known (and not at all secret) that google will grab upcoming flight info from emails and put it into your calendar. But this info still isn't used for ad targeting.
However, I was describing the deceptive advertisement that came along with the flight->calendar populating feature (which is fine).
The advertisement that Google added to my calendar was an auto-populated fake hotel reservation.
It was setup to look as if I'd previously reserved rooms but had simply failed to confirm the final ccard info -- the click-thru literally went straight to the enter ccard info page with my "reservation" prepopulated.
This was trying to hijack any other reservation that I might have intended to make (of course it was really obvious to me since we were staying w/relatives).
Let's be clear:
Adding a "need a hotel?" link to my calendar might be ok.
Populating my calendar with an item for a business I've never even contacted is an advertisement.
Falsely claiming I've already made a reservation when I've never even contacted the business is a lie. It is a deceptive practice.
I was genuinely surprised to see this level of both advertising and deception from Google.
So you're being downvoted for claiming to have been the target of an unrealistic sounding advertisement campaign that, it seems, no one else has ever been targeted by. This, at Google scale, is pretty unlikely.
To give a recent similar example from HN, a user was complaining that google was incorrectly tracking their watch history on YouTube. In reality, they had been infected with malware that watched YouTube videos in the background. Your story gives me the same vibe, and that's likely why people are downvoting.
I had never made a reservation, never even searched for a hotel, as we were staying with relatives. So, there is zero chance that it had anything to do with other searches or reservation attempts, and the flights were made directly at the airline site (i.e., not through Google Flights or a travel aggregator).
The advert populated in the same time-frame as the flight; the airline's flight confirmation email to my Gmail acct had clearly been was parsed, and there was nothing in the email having to do with a hotel.
Moreover, when I clicked thru and found the menus, Google settings pages were there, offering to enable/disable the feature, along with describing that the "helpful" auxiliary reservation feature could not be turned off separately, and providing a feedback opportunity.
My recollection is that this advertisement itself also came with a google message about how this was a helpful new feature to complete my travel palns.
Obviously I turned it off, and slammed them in the feedback, in particular how I couldn't manage the sub-features (actual vs advertised reservations) separately.
Neither item ever happened again, which I would expect having turned off the feature. Which also indicates that this was something under Google's control as opposed to an infection or bug.
My guess is that this is a short-lived experiment, gathered a lot of the kind of feedback I gave, and was cut off by one of their smarter managers.
Similar attacks have been directed at iCloud users, too.
1) This occurred in exactly the same set of minutes since the email direct from the airline arrived and Google parsed it and posted the flight info to my calendar
2) The hotel locations and dates for the fake reservation were exactly matched to the airline travel dates.
It is also possible to win the lottery, but to post such an exactly targeted advertisement is for all practical purposes impossible without access to the email. Only three parties had access to it: The airline, me, and Google.
The other indication against this is that this only appeared at the same time as the auto-populate for flights appeared, and never after I turned off that service. Yet, I've received many flight confirmations from the same airline.
So, it would have had to have been a short-lived shady link deal between the hotel & airline at exactly the time that Google started auto-populating the flights, then dropped. Possible, and important to consider, but...
I synchronize my information between Thunderbird (Windows), Android (DavX and GMail app) and of course, they provide a nice web interface (Horde)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder :)
That's why I created EteSync a secure, end-to-end encrypted, and privacy respecting sync solution that seamlessly integrates with existing apps and feels just like a Google account.
And I'm not surprised, since actually reporting it as down has a lot of political blowback (not to mention contract blowback) within the company.
Not that this can't have been an obvious reason (deleting all the servers in a datacenter or similarly trivial but severe) but it's likely impossible to ensure status page accuracy.
And yet everybody agrees it's down.
> We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Calendar. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are unable to access Google Calendar.
Here's their tweet about it: https://twitter.com/awscloud/status/836656664635846656
> ©2019 Google - Last updated: June 18, 2019 at 3:12:13 PM UTC+1
Looks like it was last updated before the outage.
That, by the way, and surprisingly for me, it seems it's a quote from 1973:
The engineers there obviously have info before the public status page gets updated.
(Please introduce more meaningful error messages, Google)
Previous one was only 15 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20077421
We worked hard and managed to keep it pretty high, but in all that time I think we only had two or three perfect weeks worldwide.
My opinion is worth nothing but Google feels like a crumbling cookie now.. it used to be a cool addition to one's life.
Nothing but anecdote, but a lot of my friends at Facebook and Google are eyeing the exits.
They’ve made good money and can afford to go somewhere better aligned with their values. They’re also each remarkably talented.
These outages may be a reflection of that exodus. (Counterfactual: we started our careers at the same time and are nearing a natural switching point simultaneously.)
Hint: companies at Google's scale do not have a single point of failure where employees slowly trickling in or out can impact their infrastructure in this way. You would see many more failures in this case. The tenure for the average employee is ~2 years.
I've worked at big companies and small ones. Every place has a small pool of extraordinary technical talent (the 10x or 100x engineers or whatever). It isn't just that these people are geniuses (although some of them def are), its how much context they have around the systems that are critical to the functioning of the Company. They have that context + dedication to have learned about different failure scenarios. They probably have built the automation systems that deploy the services.
When such people leave, its not the end of the company, someone else (either a person or a group) usually are interested and step up to knowledge transfer before the person leaves and then learn the system.
However, if a critical mass of people leave at or around the same time, crucial knowledge that is necessary for the systems to operate correctly is lost. This may not surface immediately, but when something goes wrong, you will notice it.
I'm not saying this is what happened to Google, IDK. But its very much a possiblity, even at the largest companies. Especially the ones that have somewhat centralized systems, so outages tend to affect a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated services.
Google calendar sort of requires your personal data to function (just like gmail).
Each took about a day to write, and is customized exactly the way I like it; if I need a shortcut key, a weird little feature, etc. I can do it. I'm kind of an optimization / performance nut too, so they all run uber-fast, no perceptible delay from click to page / screen loaded (Sqlite is great for these kinds of things). Data is totally private and under your control. It's really nice.
However, calendar was complicated enough that I just use Google's. Might be time to rethink..
Also, Sqlite is a database engine to be seriously reckoned with if you know how to run a few magic PRAGMAs on your initial connection. I am still in awe of what can be achieved in terms of throughput and latency by a single connection on a WAL-journaled Sqlite db. If you don't need your app or service to scale beyond a single process per logical deployment, I cannot see any justification for using another engine.
We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and I try not to think about how fragile it all really is all the time.
I thought google can do better.
About 1 in 15 times I'm managing to load it at the moment.
Looks like some instances are live; but capacity is evidently a fraction of what it should be.
Probably a lot of users are trying to refresh calendar right now (which will probably hit the calendar service).
If they put ddos protection in front of it, it won't hit the calendar service but the ddos-protection-service.
My guess is that something bad has happened centrally, which tripped the security heuristics as an unexpected event at a very high level. It then elevated the security for a very large number of users.
I'm sure they are fine, this product is not a personal page with guestbook for your 20 friends and gifs on shared hosting plan.