An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to gostips@gmail.com.

July 30, 2009

Birthday Calendar for Google Contacts

Google has recently added a birthday field in Google Contacts and many people asked for an integration with Google Calendar. Creating a birthday calendar shouldn't be very difficult: Google created one for orkut friends, even if the calendar has a lot of limitations.

Until Google adds this feature to Google Calendar, you can try a third-party application that generates a public calendar for the birthdays associated with your contacts. The application uses Google App Engine and Google Contacts API, so your password is safe. Another good thing is that the calendar is updated automatically when you add new birthdays or you edit the existing ones. Add notifications if you want to receive an email or an SMS one day before each birthday.

The major downside is that the calendar generated by the service is public, so anyone who knows its URL can see it. To use the service, you need to grant it access to your address book and Google recommends to do only if you trust the site. It's always a good idea to export your Gmail contacts before using an application that is allowed to has write access to your data.

Update: Google Calendar added the same feature. Go to the Settings page, select the Calendars tab and click on "Browse public calendars", then add the calendar "Contacts' birthdays and events". Unfortunately, Google's built-in calendar doesn't support notifications.



For some of your contacts, you'll see their birthdate even if you didn't add it to Google Contacts. It's likely that the information is obtained from Google Profiles.

{ Thanks, WebSonic.nl. }

43 comments:

  1. Hopefully it's something we'll see in Google Calendar soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This has existed for quite a while in Google Calendar... notifications would be nice, though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't understand : how could I do to NOT show my birthdays. I do not want the birthdays in "public" but in "private" !
    I don't want that anyone can see my contacts' name :o.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was talking about Google's built-in calendar of course.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post! This is a sweet addition to my Android phone :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. anyone know how you can import birthdays into your google contacts from facebook?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love it. Really need notifications though -- contact specific. I definitely do not want to be notified of all of my contacts' dates.

    It says "Birthdays and Events" ... but I'm not seeing Anniversaries and stuff on there...is this coming?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aren't you not uppset about the "public" issue ? Why don't they let the choice to choose to make this calendar "public" or "private" ?
    I don't whant that my boss could see my wedding date or any of my contacts' name :o :o :o !?

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Alexa:

    Maybe you should clarify your issue, because I don't understand it. Your birthday is not public, but you can share it with some of your contacts, as explained here. Your contacts list is also private and so is the birthday calendar.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow okay.
    So, no one could see this calendar by any way ?
    I tough so because we pick it in "public calendars" ("other calendars") and not in "My Calendars". But now I realize that http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=%23contacts%40group.v.calendar.google.com&ctz=Europe/Paris show an empty calendar if you aren't logged in. So the feed links and iframe (for websites) are totaly uselesse ???? (they put me in the wrong).
    And there is noway to make the calendar public/shared or private, so I think it was public/shared by default ("browse public calendar")

    ReplyDelete
  11. Does this work in reverse too? I have plenty of birthdays entered in Google Calendar with reminders set up, but haven't got around to entering them in Google Contacts. Is there a way to export them from Calendar to Contacts?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think there is a problem with this birthday field and Google Sync to my iphone. I've just edited the Birthday field on many of my Google Contacts and some minutes later the field is wiped.

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Timmy:

    Here's how to add anniversaries: when you edit a contact, click on "Add" and select "Date".

    ReplyDelete
  14. @anonymous there doesn't appear to be any easy way to sync facebook and google contacts information unless you use a mobile phone as a go-between. For instance, the latest version of Facebook for blackberry will export certain information (although I don't offhand recall if birthday is included, although pictures are) to your blakberry contacts, which you can sync to google contacts (using google's blackberry sync program). Works pretty much flawlessly even though it's a bit convoluted, and all of the apps involved are official, native, supported and free of obvious bugs. I assume similar solutions exist for all the major smartphone platforms, but I can't speak to any other than blackberry's solution.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Alex Chitu

    That will add the anniversary to the contact but it will not export it to the calendar as of yet.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was starting to worry nothing surreal would happen today.

    ReplyDelete
  17. About http://contact-birthdays.appspot.com:
    "The major downside is that the calendar generated by the service is public, so anyone who knows its URL can see it."

    Yes, but each user gets a crypto-safe random token assigned - so you can't access a user's calendar without finding out the secret token. So, your birthdays should be safe.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Awesome idea not to include the birthays as reoccuring events. Hated this in Outlook....
    Would be perfect if you could add the actual age to the event: e.g
    "John Doe's 66th birthday" or better just "John Doe (66)"

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is wonderful! Just a few more things to make it better. Display the person's birthday (e.g. John Doe's 20th Birthday). Also add a link to your contact in the contact editor. How about notifications configurable on a per person basis? Also, showing anniversaries / other person specific dates?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Agree with DC Steve. This feature is incredibly lame until then.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Totally agree with DC Steve.
    *Displaying contacts age such as 21st Birthday
    *Link to view contact details
    *Event notifications configurable per event
    *showing other dates added to contact

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have added all my birthdays in contacts, now having it displayed in my Google calendar. But when I synchronize my Nokia phone with Google Calendar (using Goosync), birthdays are not displayed in my phone calendar. Anyone has a solution to this?

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Nicolas:

    No solution. The calendar is web-only and can't be synchronized.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What I'm looking for is a way of having a list of birthdays for a blogspot page and checking the date to know when to display a birthday. Does anyone know of a gadget or java app which is out there which will do this?

    ReplyDelete
  25. agree that there are a lot of features this is lacking (see dc steve).. seems silly that some calendars can do it and others can't

    ReplyDelete
  26. I need to know: the size required for a photo to be uploaded as a background. Have tried uploading from my computer and using the URL from Photo Bucket - jpg files appros. 24 KB; but get a message "Files too large"

    ReplyDelete
  27. Could anyone please help me. I have added the Birthday calendar and it worked just fine. But if I delete a contact the birthday is still stuck with the calendar and I can't fin way to remove it. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wait... there is NO NOTIFICATIONS for a contacts birthday?? I have done all this, and sync'd it with my iphone, in order to receive notifications ON MY PHONE for my friends b-days... and it doesn't work??

    anyone? help?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Google has already started it's decline if it can't do simple obvious stuff like this right. For the love of *U@#.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I hope they will soon add the age of the contacts, like in Rainlendar.
    Of course this is only possible when you know the year of birth.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I added all my friends birthdays in google calendar, which my Palm Pre syncs to that calendar. But in my calendar on my phone, it shows the birthday exactly one day earlier. I double checked google calendar online, and it is correct. But my phone is showing all birthdays exactly one day ahead. Does anyone know what I have done wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  32. I noticed an issue when syncing to an iPhone. If you don't enter a birth year the record does not get processed on the next iPhone sync and that field subsequently erased from the Google Contacts entry.

    Guess I'm going to have to guess how old some of my friends are...

    ReplyDelete
  33. I created an app to send reminders for the Contacts calendar. It runs on App Engine and just sends emails at a specified time of day for any events happening that day. The app only reads from your contacts, it doesn't do any writes. You can find it here: http://gcalendar-reminders.appspot.com/about

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have been publishing my iCal's birthday calendar to Google Calendar before I came across the contacts' birthdays and events calendar in Google Calendar. When I tried it, no birthday dates show up, neither does it on preview. I am certain that my contacts birthday details are all there as I have an exact copy of my contacts on my iPhone, Mac, and Google due to Google and iTunes Sync.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Upon closer inspection in Google contacts, I noticed none of my contact's birthday's are transferred. I assumed the only details that were not transferred were pictures...(I am running Mac OS X 10.5.8, I am aware that 10.6 has full transfer of contact data)

    Anyway this does not appear to be such a big deal for me as I have the work around via Cal Dav which I have setup for publishing.

    ReplyDelete
  36. In my Google calendar (which is a custom version for the company I work for), I need to go to Settings > 'calendar' tab > Browse interesting calendars > 'More' tab, and subscribe to the 'Contacts birthdays and events' calendar. I've just set up a contact with a birthday today, refreshed my calendar, and nothing appears - maybe there's a time lag?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Is there any way syncing the birthday calendar with iPhone? I have birthdays displayed in google all right - but on my phone the b'day-calendar is just blank. sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Now it is under Interesting Calendars > More > Contacts' birthdays and events > Subscribe!

    ReplyDelete
  39. My Google Calendar is randomly showing some contacts' birthdays and not showing many more. Can anyone help me with this?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi i have purchased an app called iAlarm Syncs with Google Calendar

    * Syncs with Google Calendar
    * Recursive Alarm -Configure an onetime alarm or a recursive alarm which can repeat daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.
    * Intelligent categorization - Tasks,Payment, Occasion, Birthday Reminder, Travel, Others
    * Snooze with various timings.
    * Custom Settings -Do you want to load the app on OS start up or keep it always on top of other windows? Do you prefer to have alarms with a sound and want to minimize the app to the system tray? Change the custom settings to configure the app to your liking and preferences. At last you have an app which you can have it your way.
    * Alarm Alert anytime anywhere - The app also syncs seamlessly with Google Calendar and hence you can access your meetings and reminders from anywhere and through any device.
    * Unleash Google Calendar - Also you can leverage the excellent features of Google Calendar like SMS / Email Alert, Sharing Calendars with friends, Mobile Access, Sync with Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. a friend asked me to use this app.and i saved the request. You sent me 19 msgs on SMS and low.an behold i start getting text from friends re:this b-day service. I never.downloaded it and when i checked the app the damn thing was down loaded. Google you are in our lives way to much. Your like friggin spies and i find it distutbing. I uninstalled it but you violated my privacy rights. I dont like big corporations, govmnts in bed with me. GOOGLE + YOU CONTINUE TO OVER STEP YOUR BOUNDARIES. BEEN SUED YET BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS FOR INVASION OF PRIVACY?

      Delete
  41. I got tired of birthdays without reminders and sync issues so I created this:
    Google Contact Birthday Reminders.

    The script converts birthdays from Google Contacts to Google Calendar annual events with reminders/notifications!

    It converts Chinese birthdays too but you can ignore that option by selecting "None" for Chinese birthdays.

    Now there is no reason to forget your mum's birthday again! :)

    ReplyDelete