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October 7, 2011

Open Webcal Links Using Google Calendar in Chrome

If you visit Google Calendar using Chrome, you'll probably notice an infobar that asks you to "allow Google Calendar to open all web calendar links". Chrome has recently added support for protocol handlers, so that you can associate Gmail with mailto: links and Google Calendar with webcal: links. The infobar from Google Calendar requests your permission to associate the webcal: protocol with the application.


According to Wikipedia, "Webcal is an unofficial Uniform Resource Identifier scheme for accessing iCalendar files. Webcal was initiated for use with the Apple iCal application and has become a common de facto standard for accessing iCalendar formatted files via WebDAV. It is not an official URI scheme, such as http and ftp, as registered with IANA. The Webcal protocol prefix is used to trigger an external protocol handler which is passed the URL of the .ics file rather than being passed the downloaded contents of the file, in much the same way feed is sometimes used to trigger external RSS readers. The idea is that with this protocol prefix the target file should be subscribed to rather than imported into the calendar application as would happen with a simple download."

Here's an example of webcal: link that lets you subscribe to a calendar that includes the US holidays. You can find more calendars at iCalWorld and iCalShare.

To edit the protocol handlers in Google Chrome, open a new tab and paste in the address bar: chrome://settings/handlers (you can also go to Settings, click "Show advanced settings" at the bottom of the page, click "Content settings", then "Manage handlers").


Firefox also has this feature and it's even more powerful because it also works for filetypes. Unfortunately, you can only associate them with native apps, not with Web apps.

{ Thanks, Sterling. }

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