How to Add Google Calendar Integration to Ubuntu

Are you using Google Calendar and want to integrate it into your Linux system? Long ago this didn’t seem feasible, but as time has gone on some desktop environments have taken it upon themselves to add the ability to receive notifications from Google Calendar on the desktop. For most users, this is enough.

However, those who rely on Google’s scheduling service to get real work done will find that these built-in features come up short. Fortunately, there’s a solution to this problem: Google Calendar indicator. It’s a decently-aged piece of software but one that still works perfectly today.

With it users can interact with Google Calendar, view events and even create new ones! So, how do you install it? Let’s find out!

A PPA needs to be added to the system before the Google Calendar indicator can be installed on the system. This will allow Ubuntu to install software outside of its normal software sources. Add the PPA to Ubuntu by opening up a terminal window and entering the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao

The personal package archive is now active on Ubuntu, but that’s not everything. The operating system’s software sources need updating to reflect the changes made. To do this, run this update command. This will ensure that Ubuntu sees the new PPA.

sudo apt update

Finally, install the Google Calendar indicator to the system.

sudo apt install calendar-indicator

Open the Unity dash and search for “calendar indicator,” then launch it. A window will appear with three separate tabs. Find the login tab, and click “Allow access to Google Calendar.” Doing this opens up a Google authentication window asking for access to your account.

calendar-indicator-google-oauth-page

Giving the Calendar indicator access to Google will load all of the user’s’ Calendar items. Click the icon in the dash to view items in a quick list. By default, the Calendar indicator syncs with Google services every twelve hours and turns on at startup.

To speed up automatic sync, click on the icon in the tray, then select “Preferences.” Find “Options” and change the number from twelve to another number (measured in hours). Alternatively, click the tray icon and select “sync with Google Calendar” to instantly update the indicator.

The indicator also lets users add Google Calendar entries directly. To add an item to the Calendar, select the indicator icon, then click “add new event.” This brings up an event creation window. Use it to fill out the title of the event, the start/end date, and a description of the event.

calendar-indicator-add-new-event-2

When the item has been added, go back to the indicator on the panel and select the sync button to push the changes. To view the newly created event (or any event on the Google calendar), select the show calendar button in the indicator.

calendar-view-calendar

Google Calendar is perhaps one of the most popular scheduling tools out there and for a good reason. Few of its competitors are as easy to use nor as prolific. Though, as prolific as the service is, it is hard to find good integration, especially on Linux.

Unity, Gnome and others already offer built-in integration with Google Calendar, but do it poorly and force a mediocre email and calendar client to make it work. Using the Calendar indicator is a much better experience for the end user, and until Canonical and others work on a better way to integrate the service, this is the best users are going to get.

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