Google Calendar is something many of us use every day. It’s a perfectly good calendar application packed with just enough Google calendar features features to make it more useful than any of the alternatives and we don’t generally think much more of it.
But there’s good reason to think more of it: Google is slowly adding in features that make it an incredibly powerful organising tool. Recent updates to Google’s Gmail and Calendar integration mean that you can now add calendar events directly from Gmail, while Calendar itself can now help you to plan events according to attendee schedules.
Calendar Labs are also up to new tricks. It’s a new world of innovation just waiting to be explored.
Gmail To Calendar Event Add
The easiest new tool to get started with would have to be the Gmail-to-Calendar event add function. When you can use it, you’ll see it right beside your email on the right. All it does is look for sentences in the email which looks like a future appointment, then suggests you add it to your calendar straight away. Click on “Add” and you’re instantly in Google Calendar, the event is largely pre-filled and all you have to do is adjust and save. Neat!
Find A Time
Google Calendar’s Find a Time is available whenever you’re adding an event to Calendar and in theory is very straightforward to use. However for it to work correctly, your attendees need to be sharing their calendar with you – and their primary Google Calendar needs to have all of their “busy” time noted on it.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m spread out over quite a few calendars and I don’t generally share my calendar with friends. But, a quick re-arranging of calendars could make this feature very useable indeed.
New Google Calendar Labs Features
Labs for Calendar have bumped out some great new features since I last checked, some of which are incredibly useful. Things like Add Gadget by URL which is a neat way to add third party extensions. Smart Rescheduler, which has been around since March 2010, was so good it essentially has just been retired by “Find A Time”.
This is a quick and easy way to differentiate your events from one another. Enable the app, click on any event in calendar view and choose an icon to represent it. It automatically applies the icon to repeats of the task if you check the box.
This is a very easy way to deflect all those office meeting requests without necessarily having to detail why you’re busy on a work calendar. Good for maintaining a little privacy.
Dim Future Repeating Events
This will make your calendar a teensy bit easier to look at once you’ve filled it up with every weekly event imaginable. It won’t dim full-day events or the next event in a repeating series, but if you look to the weeks ahead you’ll see repeat events are dimmed.
This is a simple, handy way to view your whole year at once. Of course, you can’t see your events, but it is very good for viewing potential availability in the far future and being able to click straight through to a date in order to schedule the event.
This is such a simple idea that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. No more cutting and pasting details into the description – simply attach the appropriate Google document.
These are for anyone who has set up pop-up reminders for events, but can’t stand the way Google Calendar steals focus in the browser. This way, it pops up, but you won’t see it until you return to your Google Calendar tab. Much less annoying!
This is a simple way to give some context to your calendar entries, filling in brief, vague titles with details of the other attendee. This stops you having to click through to see who your “meeting” is with.
If you’re into Google Labs extensions, there are plenty more to explore that we’ve already featured on MakeUseOf. In fact, MakeUseOf have featured plenty of great articles on how you can use Google Calendar generally. Try these for some further reading:
- 5 Useful Greasemonkey Scripts To Enhance Google Calendar
- Get Organized This Semester With Google Calendar
- Manage Your Budget & Expenses Using Google Budgeting Tools
- 6 Reasons To Fire Your Event Planner & Use Google Instead
- Free Up Your Time With Google Calendar, Blog & Status Updates
If you’ve found out any other neat Google Calendar extensions or hacks, let us know in the comments!