Google Calendar takes the headache out of scheduling work meetings

A new 'Find a Time' feature sifts through schedules to pick out the best meeting time

Google wants to take some of the pain out of scheduling work meetings with a new feature the company launched for its Calendar product on Wednesday.

The new "Find a Time" feature in the Google Calendar Android app helps users pick out a time that works for everyone invited to a meeting without requiring them to spend ages going back and forth over email.

Here's how it works: when a user sets up a meeting and adds people to the event, Find a Time will pick out a list of suggested times, along with who will be able to attend.

Those suggestions will be built not only on the current state of an invitee's calendar, but also their historical scheduling trends. Once the organizer has picked a time, Google Calendar will send out invitations to everyone. 

In the event that none of the suggested times work for everybody, Find a Time will also suggest which meetings are the easiest for participants to reschedule in order to make a group discussion work. People who aren't confident the system is suggesting the best meeting time can see a quick at-a-glance view of all invitees' calendars, to confirm that an event won't work, or see if there's some possibility the computerized system is missing. 

Find a Time is built for an office where publicly sharing calendars is the norm, since the feature won't go digging into someone's private schedule. At the moment, it's only available on Android and only to people who are on Google Apps for Work or Apps for Education users. 

Google Calendar already supports a version of this feature on the Web, but this is the first time that it has made its way to mobile. In addition, the Android version of Find a Time will automatically suggest appointment times, while web users will have to manually pick out the right time.

Right now, it's not clear whether this functionality will make its way to non-paying Google Calendar users, or to any other mobile platforms like iOS. 

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Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
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