Pre-Emptive Cringing

How soon before advertisers worm their way into Goals in Google Calendar?


Pardon us, but do you have any oats?

If you didn’t read the announcement, Google has added a feature to its popular calendar that makes it easier for users find time to reach specific goals.  You want to work on your Spanish twice a week?  Tell GCal and it’ll schedule two sessions each work para aprender Español.

Given that Google earns a tad of 90% of its income from advertising (PDF), you must excuse me for cringing in advance.

Step 1: Advertisers start buying keywords in your Calendar

Let’s go back to our Spanish example.  Wouldn’t Berlitz or Rosetta Stone  love to help you learn Spanish?  You bet they would.  In fact, they might even encourage you to download the app right from the calendar via some permutation of Adwords.

Step 2: Advertisers set your goals for you

Even more aggressively, Google could sell leads gleaned from your Gmail or search behavior to suggest goals for you.  Maybe you won’t even have to remind yourself to practice your Spanish once you’ve searched for a hotel in Buenos Aires.

Of course, Goals may go nowhere.  Google certainly has a long an proud history of experiments and products that didn’t work out (and what were we supposed to do with Wave, anyway?).  However, if Baskin Robbins starts commanding you to leave your workstation twice a week for a Clown Cone, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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