How can I get e-mail notification of my Google Contacts' birthdays?
December 31, 2010 7:24 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to get e-mail notification of my Google Contacts' birthdays?
posted by grouse to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you already seen this page?

That lets me put my contacts' birthdays on a separate calendar. I just spent a few minutes looking, and wasn't yet able to see how to create a notification for each event automatically except by copying each entry to my own calendar and setting it.
posted by devbrain at 8:15 AM on December 31, 2010

Thanks devbrain. I already have my contacts' birthdays on my Google Calendar, but would like e-mail notification as well. I'm hoping for something more automated than copying each entry to my calendar and setting a notification on it.

From my trawling through Google support forums, I don't believe there is a Google-supported way of doing this. It seems like the sort of thing a third party would have provided long ago. I could potentially script something using Google's APIs, but I'd rather avoid that if possible.
posted by grouse at 9:00 AM on December 31, 2010

Dead easy, as long as you make a separate calendar within Google Calendar for the birthdays (mine is called "Birthdays"). On the sidebar on the left where your various calendars are displayed, choose Notifications from the drop-down menu for the Birthdays calendar. Choose "Add a reminder," and it will email you X minutes/hours/days/weeks before.
posted by squasher at 11:15 AM on December 31, 2010

That requires me to copy every single contacts' birthday to this calendar and I don't want to do that, manually, at least. If I could automate contacts' birthdays to the new calendar, I would be happy with that.
posted by grouse at 11:43 AM on December 31, 2010

True. I'm kind of shocked this isn't a Lab feature yet.

Try exporting the public calendar (mentioned in the thread devbrain posted) as an iCal file and then importing it into a new calendar so you can set up the notifications as I posted. I wonder about yearly repeating, though.
posted by squasher at 12:37 PM on December 31, 2010

That was a clever idea. Unfortunately, the iCal file seems to be a stub header without any of the actual data on individual dates.
posted by grouse at 12:46 PM on December 31, 2010

Under "Other Calendars", do you have a calendar called "Contacts' Birthdays and Events"? I am not sure if I added it manually or if it is auto-created. But I have it, and it pulls info from my gmail contacts. Unfortunately, it is treated as a read-only calendar, and there is no option to enable notifications. But maybe there is a way to use the iCal feed and some web service to turn on notifications?
posted by misterbrandt at 1:31 PM on December 31, 2010

Yes. There is no iCal feed. It is just a stub header with some metadata but no entries for individual birthdays. It seems that Google Calendar uses special-case code for this calendar rather than converting the data to a real calendar.
posted by grouse at 1:34 PM on December 31, 2010

Ah. Sorry. Couldn't tell which "iCal file" your previous post was in ref to.
posted by misterbrandt at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2010

Using Google's command-line interface to its apps, perhaps you could whip up a periodic cron job to check your calendar for specific events, sending an email if the right conditions are met.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:33 PM on December 31, 2010

That's a good idea. Looks like I can get a list of everyone whose birthday is today with:
google contacts list --fields name,birthday --title . | grep "$(date +%m-%d)$"
This will produce no output on other days, making it perfect for a cron job.
posted by grouse at 3:09 PM on December 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 PM on December 31, 2010

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