Category Archives: Google

Google Calendar alerts no longer working for Rogers cell phones

UPDATE 2012Jul24: It’s working again. The list of carriers has also changed, and there are now two separate entries for Rogers. Not sure what that’s about, but in any case, it’s now working again for me.


A couple of weeks ago I stopped receiving alerts from Google Calendar.

An otherwise excellent free service, I’ve been using Google Calendar for all my scheduling needs for several years. I was thrilled to find that it could send SMS text messages to my cell phone to remind me about appointments. I used this feature extensively, until it suddenly stopped working recently.

I’ve been working with Rogers tech support to resolve this, and we have come to the conclusion that the problem is between Google and Rogers. According to Rogers, they haven’t received any SMS messages from Google for my account recently. I’m able to both send and receive text messages from the phone.

Google’s support for its Calendar service consists – as with most of its other services – of help forums. The usual pattern is that someone posts a problem, then gradually more users find the original problem report and add their comments or ‘me toos’. Eventually, someone at Google takes notice and responds, usually to say that they are working on the problem. At some point the problem may end up being resolved. The key is to be patient. One of the reasons Google is able to offer so many wonderful free services is that they don’t spend much on support.

After struggling with this problem for a while, I posted a new problem report on the Google Calendar help forum. So far, there has been no response from Google, although several other users have chimed in with their observations.

Recently, someone posted a workaround on my problem report. It involves using Fido as the carrier instead of Rogers. Surprisingly, it does work, after a fashion, so that’s what I’m doing now. Using Fido as the carrier involves a bit of setup. When you send the verification code, you’ll receive a message telling you to subscribe to the ‘Fido email to SMS service’. Reply ‘Yes’ as instructed. After a few minutes you will receive confirmation. You will also receive notification of a new message, to which you must reply ‘Read’ in order to actually read. The first message should contain your verification code for Google Calendar. From then on, your Google Calendar alerts will arrive like that: a message telling you that you have a message, then the message itself. It’s not exactly slick, but it does seem to work reliably. I’m not sure whether any new charges will apply.

Google’s ‘Blocked Sites’ feature still not working

Google’s site blocking feature was announced on the official Google blog on March 10, 2011. It allows users logged into their Google account to avoid seeing search results from specific sites.

Most users began noticing a new link on their Google search results pages, offering to ‘Block all example.com results’ when the user returns to the results page immediately after clicking a result link. A site blocking management page allowed users to add and remove blocked sites directly.

Unfortunately, many users (including myself) are finding that these features are no longer working. In my case, the option to block results from a site on the search results page has stopped appearing, and although the existing blocked sites still appear to affect my search results, I can no longer add new blocks on the management page.

The problem may be related to Google’s push to switch over to secure HTTP for all of its services – at least for logged-in users. Other reports indicate that the new ‘Search Plus personalized results format’ may have broken this feature.

Some sites are reporting Google’s official stance on this issue as “we’re working on a fix but it may take a while.” I have been unable to verify this.