Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo’s Scott Dietzen Speaks About Its New Online Calendar (Which Is About a Decade Late!)

In its ongoing renovation of its offerings–last month it began rolling out a new homepage–Yahoo is unveiling a new online calendar, with a passel of new bells and whistles, to a small group of users worldwide.

At first, the beta–current users can register to try it here–will take place in the United States, Brazil, India, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Overall, it is a good-looking, simple and clean design–that will eventually be extended to all of Yahoo’s 8.1 million calendar users worldwide.

It is also Yahoo’s first attempt at leveraging and integrating technology from its $350 million acquisition of open-source email and calendaring company Zimbra just over a year ago.

And, incredibly, although Yahoo’s is the top online calendar in the world, it has been 10 years since the Internet giant updated it.

That lack of innovation has resulted in major inroads in recent years by newer entrants like Google, whose calendar launched with more modern features, like color-coding, easy sharing and drag-and-drop functionality.

With its renovation, which is based on open standards, the updated calendar from Yahoo (YHOO) now has these kinds of features and also works more seamlessly with Yahoo’s powerful email product, Yahoo! Mail, which has 278 million users.

The new Yahoo calendar is built on the Zimbra platform, which uses Ajax functionality in its online calendars and iCalendar (iCal) and CalDAV3 standards.

That makes it interoperable with other online calendar services, including those from Mozilla, Apple, Microsoft, Time Warner’s AOL and Google.

One of the cooler features is the ability to zoom-in and zoom-out from a monthly wall calendar view to a single event.

In addition, Yahoo’s new calendar can integrate pictures from its Flickr photo community and also has a “to-do” list.

As the beta is rolled out further in the coming months, Yahoo will add additional synching and event discovery features.

I talked about all this today with Yahoo SVP Scott Dietzen, who came to the company with the Zimbra acquisition and now is in charge of all communications products at Yahoo.

Here is the video interview I did with him:

And here are the screenshots of the new calendar, along with one of the old calendar, for comparison (click on images to make them larger):

The old main Yahoo calendar

The new main Yahoo calendar

The “zoom” feature

The integration with Flickr

The Upcoming.org integration