Google Calendar just got more fantastic. We’ll show you what’s new and how to access the new version.
There’s so much more to the app than meets the eye. For example, did you know it integrates with several email clients? Or that you can use it to track your goals? You can even sync it with the Windows 10 taskbar.
However, the app always had one major flaw: the design. Google Calendar felt like it was stuck in the 2000s. And while apps like News, Keep, and Drive have been given an overhaul in recent years, Calendar was left behind.
Now, in October 2017, Google has finally gotten around to upgrading the Calendar interface. But was it worth the wait? Here’s an overview of the new features and a look at the new design.
How to Upgrade to the New Calendar
Before discussing the redesign, let’s take a moment to explain how to upgrade to the new version of the app.
For some people, the new version of the app might load automatically. The old interface might load for others.
If you see the old interface, just look for the Use new calendar button in the upper right-hand corner. It should be available to everyone — Google initiated a worldwide rollout on October 18.
A new box will pop up. Click Upgrade now to confirm your decision.
You can roll back the upgrade by clicking on the gear icon and choosing Back to classic Calendar.
Note: G Suite users will only be able to access the new app if their system admin enables it.
The New Design
The upgrade marks the first redesign of Google Calendar since 2011. Given that millions of users log into the app every day, the redesign is long overdue.
The update takes its design cues from Material Design. The philosophy has underpinned everything Google has done in the last few years. It first landed in the public consciousness on the Android operating system in 2014, and Google has slowly been updating its web apps to abide by the same principles.
Although the new app’s layout is broadly similar to the old version, there are lots of small changes that make it easier on the eye.
When loading up the calendar for the first time, users will immediately notice the expanded date bar. The numbers are now larger, making it faster to know what you’re viewing at a glance.
The text on events has been inverted from black to white (though the black is still available if you prefer), and Google has introduced more splashes of color. The left-hand panel has also been expanded to take advantage of a screen’s prime real estate.
There are a few other smaller changes. For example, the day, week, and month views are now accessible via a dropdown menu rather than each having their own button, and the famous “hamburger icon” has been introduced in the upper left-hand corner to let you switch the calendar into fullscreen mode.
Finally, both the Event view and the Settings menu have been revamped. They are now much easier to navigate.
The New Features
Along with the redesign, Google has introduced a host of new features that users have been crying out for. They help to make the app more useful than ever.
Revamped Calendar Invites
Google Calendar is one of the best ways for people to organize events and meetings.
However, there was always a glaring issue: the lack of rich formatting and hyperlinks.
If you needed to link a document or web page, it was problematic. Asking people to copy and paste links into their browser was a recipe for overlooked information. All the links you include now open in the redesigned Event Detail window.
Furthermore, the introduction of rich formatting also means you can add a “wow factor” to invites, instantly making events appear more appealing.
Google Calendar has always supported multiple calendars. Rather than cramming lots of information onto a single timeline, using numerous calendars allows users to compartmentalize their agendas. For example, you can have one calendar for personal engagements, one for work tasks, one to keep track of your kids’ events, and so on.
In theory, it’s a great idea. But in practice, Google’s implementation of the concept left a lot to be desired. Viewing multiple calendars at the same time led to a cluttered and confusing situation. Using the Day view led to a vast amount of wasted space.
Thanks to the redesign, you can now view multiple calendars side-by-side, thus making use of the previously under-utilized area.
To see the feature in action, select the Day view from the drop-down window, and use the left-hand panel to choose the calendars you want to compare.
Improved Contact Information
Given the prevalence of the Android operating system, millions of people use Google Contacts as their primary address book.
Unfortunately, Contacts never played nicely with Calendar. Sure, the app could recognize email addresses and you could send invites to your saved contacts, but that was about the limit of the functionality.
The new Calendar app now lets you see the contact information of other users from within events. Just hover over the person’s name and a new box will pop up.
If you accidentally delete an event and miss the all-too-brief Undo link that pops up at the bottom of the screen, your event is no longer lost forever.
The new Calendar app has a Bin. You can find it by going to Gear > Bin. Click on the small arrow on the right-hand side of the event’s listing, and it will immediately return to your agenda.
It’s clear that Google wanted to make more use of screen space within the app. A new feature that helps the company achieve its aim is the responsive screen.
When you fire up the app for the first time, it’s enabled by default. You can disable it immediately by clicking Customize, or by going to Gear > Density and Color > Information Density > Compact.
Do You Like the Redesigned App?
It’s hard to find too many faults with the redesign, and you have to assume Google will continue to upgrade the app with even more new features in the weeks and months ahead.
Did you prefer the old version of the app? What’s missing from the new app? Whatever your opinions are, make sure you let us know about them in the comments below. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.