gCalTasks gadget

I love using my calendar to set reminders about appointments to the dentist, book my vacation for the best hotels in Chicago, and other events. But another very useful way to use my calendar is to log my work activity.

gCalTasks is a free gadget for Windows that logs to Google Calendar your activities.

gcaltasksThe interface is very simple and it’s composed by a text label and 3 buttons; just fill it with the work you’re going to execute and click “Start”: a stopwatch will begin to count the time you’re spending in your task. When you’ll finish, click on “Stop” button to make gCalTasks send the entry to your Calendar. You’ll can review your work day (or week, month…) directly in the Google Calendar site, to check how many hours you spent on that project.


  • Works with both public and private calendars;
  • Works with both Google and Google Apps accounts;
  • Compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows XP (with sidebar extension);
  • Offline mode (a sort of).

Get it:

download here gCalTasks.gadget (v.1.0, 60KB)


The config page will asks you for your Google credentials to retrieve your calendar list. Just choose one of them and click “OK” to start logging.


Why gCalTasks?
I needed a tool to quickly log how much time I spend on work projects but I didn’t find anything similar, so I thought to do it myself. Then I chose to give it to the net community, I hope it will help other people. This little gadget doesn’t have many features, but I wanted a light tool.

This gadget asks me to enter my Google credentials, will you steal them?
Google login/passwords are required to operate with your calendars; they are used only for these operations. The only communications between gCalTasks and “me” are requests to check if an updated version of the gadget is available (the same function periodically checks also if your computer is still connected to the Internet, to enable/disable offline mode).
Anyway, if you want you can check yourself (or you can ask your javascript programmer friend to check for you): gCalTasks code, as every Windows gadget, is open (not compiled), so you can browse your Gadget folder and open its files to be sure that no reserved informations are sent anywere but Google Calendar.
If you’re concerned about your privacy, don’t forget to read about the “unencrypted limit” in Windows gadgets (see “Known bugs / Limits).

Is gCalTasks open source?
Yes. You can use, copy, reproduce it and you can use it also in commercial/professional environments. If you want to use it for the production of new, modified software I ask you only to put a link back to me. See the LICENSE.TXT file included in the gadget for more informations.

Known bugs / Limits:

  • Sometimes there are some problems with authentication while retrieving calendar list – especially with Google Apps accounts. If you receive errors in config window, just try to repeat the operation. If the error persists, make me know your operating system and Google account type to help me fixing it.
  • Width isn’t compliant withVista sidebar size (gCalTasks is wider). There aren’t problems for functionality, but it will not appair aligned with other gadgets.
  • A list of “preferred tasks” to select would be nice. Maybe I’ll add it to the next version.
  • Windows way to store gadgets settings is not secure: they’re saved in C:\Users\(youUserName)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Settings.ini, so your Google credentials will be stored there too. It may be a problem if you work on a public computer. If this is your case, just close gCalTasks when you finish to work to have your Google login/password deleted from that file. Of course you’ll have to enter them again when you’ll re-add gCalTasks to your running gadgets.
  • Offline mode is still rudimental: it periodically checks if you’re still connected to the net and it “blocks” the gadget if you’re not. If a task is running, the stopwatch will continue to run: when you’ll return online, the gadget will resume normal activity, allowing you to stop the task and send it normally to your calendar. It’s not the best way to manage offline periods, but it just work.


I want say a big “thank you” to Eelke Spaak, the author of “The Calendar” gadget. His gadget does a different thing (it is a sort of “agenda viewer” for Google Calendar, it’s very useful), but I started from this idea to develop gCalTasks. Connection functions of gCalTasks are also based on that ones of “The Calendar”, he saved me a lot of time for the development.


  1. Art
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Release one for Google Desktop please?

  2. Cathy
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Ricky,

    I’ve downloaded gcaltasks, clicked on the exe, a box comes up, I click to install then nothing happens.

    Shame – because this looks really useful.


  3. riccardo
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I’m considering a Google Desktop port… It should be (more or less) easier than the Windows version because I think these gadgets doesn’t need to login to Google – they already run in an “Google authenticated environment” (just guessing).
    If requests for the Google Desktop (and may Mac OS X dashboard?) will be many, I’ll be happy to please them :)

    Maybe some permission problem? I didn’t experienced this problem (tested on Vista and Win7).

  4. Orangwutang
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Yes, please port to Google Desktop!

  5. Cathy
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I just found it – it’s in the sidebar!! Doh!

  6. Leo
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!…I’ve been looking for something like this for months and this is exactly what I wanted. There is room for improvements too, I’ll be interested to know if you plan to keep on working on it…

    For example it would be nice to be able to reset the watch while it is stopped. And yes the offline thing would be nice to have it figured it out.

    Other than that this is an excellent gadget…you made it to my RSS feeds 😉 – looking forward for more.

  7. Stevens
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Excellent, this is exactly what I am looking for. Can you please please please release this for OSX dashboard.

  8. riccardo
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    A Mac dashboard port should be even easier than the Google Desktop one… specificaitions are quite the same, excluding some Windows’ proprietary method.
    I think I’ll release a second version for Windows, with improved start/stop/reset interface and some improvements, and then I’ll think about a port 😉

  9. Andrew
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I love this program. Maybe in the future a version for Windows Mobile would be nice, so I can track tasks on the go.

  10. urbo
    Posted February 17, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    yes please! a google desktop porting will be very useful!!!

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
  12. antz
    Posted February 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
  13. Posted February 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I would love a Google Desktop version as well.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    If this is not a feature — please is there a way to use this gadget and sum everything up? I would love a light gadget like this that sums up my projects and also from my co-workers.

    thanks. this is very nice.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    hi there i have problem installing it on XP. apparently XP does not recognize .gadget suffix. can u elaborate a bit more on installation? thx.

  16. Michael
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Thanks for the great software but it seems that it will not auth to my google apps account. My google apps username is the exact same as my generic google apps account.

    my domain is ‘hmstudios.net’ and i am getting a error code 0.

    Please feel free to e-mail me at HM at HMStudios.net if you need more info or anything!

  17. Dan
    Posted April 2, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    IS ther any cool apps to make a timesheet form the data entered on GC?

  18. Simon
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Yes, I am having the same trouble installing it in XP. Can you offer some more instructions how to do this, please.

    A mac dashboard version would also be fantastic.


  19. Marty
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Yes to a mac port! I used to have a perl daemon I wrote that ran in the background and monitored what source directory I was working in, whether the computer was idle or not, and billed the time accordingly. I could override the “guess” it made if it drew a blank via a quick command line. It was rough, command line only, made assumptions about what how my source code directories mapped to my customers, and only ran on unix/linux but it worked for me at the time. This looks much better in some regards.

  20. Posted March 20, 2010 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t seem to work in Windows 7 64-bit. Any ideas?

  21. Posted March 20, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Almost forgot…I’m on google apps for domains.

  22. Sandy
    Posted March 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I love this app! I actually have it installed twice so I can time more than one thing at a time.

  23. Posted May 24, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Got the same as John Crenshaw. Running Windows 7 64-bit and on Google Apps too. Any help?

  24. Posted June 28, 2010 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Not working on Windows 7 64-bit. I’m using Google (@gmail) so it’s not specific to Google Apps.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Would love to see that Google Desktop version!

  26. isaac
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    This is great, but the app does not handle complex passwords (i.e. passwords with ‘\’ or ‘/’).

  27. Charlie
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Version 1.0 seems to be working on my Win7 x64 system, though I have had trouble in the past with it not writing to my standard gcalendar. it gives a 400 error, I think. I just removed the old one – ver. unknown, but probably loaded in June 2010, or so – and downloaded / ran v1 and it is now writing, again.

    Whew, close call! Ricardo, thank you so much for providing such an AWESOME little tool! I need something to track non-billable time throughout my day (paper and pen? what’s that?!) and this is a great little journaling tool!

    Is there a practical limit to how large an entry can be?

  28. Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    I like this app. I have installed and used it without problems. Thanks for this app.

  29. Mike D
    Posted February 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Good app. Close to what I was looking for. Something to book time as I go.
    To be exactly what I need it would clear both time and description on reset, reset when stopped, if it is running and I click start the current is saved and the time is set to zero and the description field is selected with all the current text highlighted, so if I want something new I just type.

    Would also love to see this in igoogle and zoho.

    Thanks for your efforts on our behalf.


  30. Posted September 28, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Love the concept here and install with great. I do have a question. Is there anyway to track the time spent on a task with multiple entries. Say I work on a task over several days. How can I know how much total time I have spent on that task?

  31. Mike
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    It says it’s open source, but I can’t find the source code anywhere (the download is just a single GCalTasks.gadget file, which is an installer). I e-mailed him but got no response back. Anyone?

  32. riccardo
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Hi Mike, Windows Gadgets are “automatically” open sourced, you can view the source directly in the file, just change the extension to .zip and decompress it :)

  33. Posted April 10, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Just a bug report.

    In “common.js” and “setting.js”, `System.Gadget.Settings.read` is used to retrieve email and password fields, but it seems that `System.Gadget.Settings.read` will do some round off internally if text is only composed of numbers. So I always got auth error (I use a long string of numbers as my password).

    Use `System.Gadget.Settings.readString` instead will fix this problem.

    And thank you very much for this app. :)

  34. Paul Walker
    Posted July 30, 2012 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    1) I’ve installed it, no probs, for my personal account, but didn’t seem to work with my google educational account (for work).

    2) About to test-drive on personal account, but once installed & apparently running (I can’t re-install it, it says it’s already running), I don’t know how to access it again… It doesn’t seem to show up on my chrome, or in tasks, or if I left or right click on a task or other calendar item. What am I missing?

    3) related to number 2 above probably, how do I “just close gCalTasks when you finish work” on a public computer?

    Oh, these are questions rather than comments. My comment would be that it looks like it could do a good job.

  35. Ricardo
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Riccardo,
    I have installed the gadget on my Windows 8 Pro via 8gadgetspack. It installed fine, I could set my credentials and the application read all my calendars. I picked the default calendar and it said it was connected.
    Then I input some text and pressed “Start” and the “Stop” after 20 minutes. There was a message that the event was sent, but checking on my calendar there was no entry.
    I’m a Google Apps user.
    Do you have any updates for the gadget?

  36. Posted March 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi Riccardo,
    I don’t know how but the program started to work. The first attempt din’t save the entry on my calendar but after the second try, it is working.
    Thanks for this.

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