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After long, curious absence, Google Calendar arrives on iOS (+video)

Depend on Gmail but use an iPhone? On Wednesday, Google made it possible for its digital ecosystem to live almost entirely on the iPhone with the introduction of Google Calendar for iOS.

In the midst of a big week for Apple, rival Google has extended the olive branch (well perhaps more a twig) to iOS.

Google released its popular Calendar app for iOS this week. This will be welcome news for people with iPhones (more than 40 percent of all smart phone users in the US) who also use Gmail (one of the most widely used smart phone apps across the country). With a variety of nifty features, Apple users can likely add this to their list of good news this week.

The Google Calendar for iOS app will offer a way to round out the Google ecosystem for Apple users. When you check e-mail, if the contents of the e-mail contain a time, date, and location, it will likely trigger an automatic Calendar event, complete with editable reminders and other customizations. It will also include Assist, a feature that suggests places and other people to contact about the event. Each event will offer the opportunity to invite friends to that event through Gmail.

Aesthetically, it looks pretty similar to the Android app. Events are set up as a scrolling timeline, showing the date on the righthand side and a list of events for that day in the body of the display. Some events will have photo backgrounds or clip art that illustrate the activity, which isn’t necessary but makes for a pretty visual narrative of the day’s events. The events are also color-coded, depending on the calendar to which the event is connected. Tap an event and you’ll see all the details, such as the confirmation number on a flight or the website of the place where you’re planning to meet a friend after work.

You can organize the view by an individual day, three days, a month, or search by keyword to find an exact event.

Google recently updated the Android version of its app to edit out some frequently reported issues, so it is likely the iOS version will hum along smoothly with its counterpart. If you’re an Apple user who depends on Gmail but had to previously used Apple’s Calendar, this will be a welcome and smooth change.

This week, Apple debuted final details for its upcoming Apple Watch, as well as a new MacBook, and updates to Apple TV. On Tuesday, it announced it will donate more than $50 million to improve diversity in the tech industry, and partner with organizations that bring women, minorities, and veterans to careers in computer science.

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