Google just introduced an interesting new feature for Google Calendar: Smart Rescheduler. This new feature, which will be available in Google Calendar Labs today, will automatically find the best time to reschedule a meeting. If you have ever tried to reschedule a meeting that includes more than two people, a conference room, equipment and a team that is distributed across multiple time zones, you know how hard this can be. With Smart Rescheduler, Google Calendar will give you a set of alternative dates based on a ranking algorithm that keeps everybody’s availability and other criteria in mind.
Rescheduling Meetings Doesn’t Have to be Hard
As Ken Norton, Google’s product manager for Google Calendar, told us yesterday, the Calendar team decided to tackle this problem after realizing how much time administrative assistants spend on trying to reschedule meetings every day. Starting today, Smart Rescheduler will be available as a Calender Labs product for all Google Calender users (including all Google Apps users with access to Calendar Labs).
Now, assuming your team uses Google Calendar, you can simply click on “Find a new time” and Google will present you with a list of the most appropriate times for a new meeting. The algorithm will rank alternative times based on criteria like attendees, schedule complexity, conference rooms and time zones. As Norton told us, the algorithm is actually quite complex and will also suggest a new meeting time when two participants in a larger meetings are scheduled for a one-on-one meeting at the same time or when there is a scheduling conflict but a meeting participant hasn’t RSVPed to this other meeting yet.
Users can also refine the search criteria by changing the meeting duration, ignoring certain conflicts and by setting the earliest and latest date for the rescheduled meeting.
It’s interesting that Google is only using this algorithm to reschedule meetings for now. It would also be interesting to see how well this system would work for scheduling meetings in the first place.