Google

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released the most-anticipated calendar since Pope Gregory XIII decreed the modern date-tracking system in 1582.

That is not much of an exaggeration judging from the reaction in the media. Of course, Google's motivation to lure users away from

Microsoft

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is more pedestrian than Pope Gregory, who needed to make sure that Easter was celebrated on the correct day.

The calendar, which bloggers have long expected, can be accessed through

calendar.google.com. It connects with the company's Gmail email program and lets users establish separate electronic work and personal datebooks. The calendar has been praised by analysts and bloggers, who have been critical of the design of other features.

"The bigger question is will Calendar be a 'hit' for Google or just another so-so product," writes Forrester analyst Charlene Li in a post on her

blog. "I do think it's an advanced user service, in much the same way that Gmail attracts a more sophisticated email user. In that way, it's a great fit with Google's target audience of early adopters."

Google needs to attract users who are interested in other things besides search if it hopes to diversify its revenue base. Most Google searchers don't stay on the site for long, which makes it less attractive for companies interested in so-called brand advertising.

Investors, who are awaiting Google's first-quarter earnings report on April 20, are concerned about Google's slowing growth rates and the maturing search market.

Shares of Google fell $4.99 to $403.96 in late Thursday trading.