Home How Google Calendar Could Be Smarter

How Google Calendar Could Be Smarter

Google Calendar announced a new feature today called Suggested Times; it allows users to co-ordinate their available times to have a meeting together. I haven’t got it turned on in my account yet, but there’s a screenshot below. It looks ok. The description of how it works isn’t at all clear in the announcement.

The idea is great, though: calendar data as the basis of new features. People say that your telephone contact list is your ultimate social network – and they say that your email inbox is a potent platform for potential products and services to be developed on top of. What about your calendar, though? The new Google Calendar feature is just the tip of the iceberg – so much more could be made possible if the data latent in our calendars were made programmatically available and turned into a platform for development. Like what? A few ideas are below, I’d love to learn about any other ideas you’ve got, too.


  • When did you last have a meeting scheduled with the same person you’re scheduling something with now? Could meeting notes or other assets be linked?

  • Who else might you want to invite – like Gmail’s who else to email recommendation feature.

  • “Would you like to schedule a Google Hangout at this time?”

  • Data visualization of historical patterns of your schedule. Did you know that you tend to schedule far fewer meetings on afternoons later in the week than in the mornings early in the week? I’d like to see a visualization of my contacts’ patterns of busy and free so I know when a good time to suggest a meeting might be.

  • Are you about to schedule something that will conflict with an event on a public events calendar and that you’re likely to be interested in? That would be awesome to be notified about. ReadWriteWeb staff hacker Tyler Gillies has built a Plancast layer on Geoloqi -it triggers a push notification to peoples’ phones whenever they are in a part of town where a public event with the category “nerdout” has been planned. That’s pretty awesome and paints a picture of what the future might look like.

John Girard, a Portland entrepreneur, says on Google+ that he wants to see calendar events and location integrated. “Who is in the office and who isn’t; who will dial in; who is traveling and unavailable etc.,” he writes. “One of my big issues with Tungle has been that it’s still not good at helping me to schedule in person meetings when I am traveling. The temporal is only one aspect of meetings – geography / location (whether virtual or actual) is almost completely neglected as of yet.”

See also: he Future as Platform: Mark Hendrickson’s Vision for Plancast from 18 months ago!

Recommendations don’t just have to be based on raw calendar availability, either. “I’d imagine that someone has researched the best time and day of week to hold meetings (other than never) for given results,” says Canadian open data geo geek

Jason Birch

. “For instance, if you want a meeting to be brief hold it right before lunch or at end of day, if you want to alert participants then hold it mid-morning, etc, etc. It would be great if this kind of research (again, assuming that it exists) were taken into account in time order as an optional sort vs earliest possible time.”

Some people just want Google Calendar to function like other apps do. “I was hoping for a public events offering from Google,” says gold spinner at Gravity.com Robbie Coleman. “Tired of evite and not all of my friends/family have (or want) Facebook accounts.”

Time is a factor that can be cross referenced with almost anything else to return interesting new data points. Ought our calendars not do more for us than sit on our computers and our phones, all alone and boring? I think they ought to. What more would you like to see your calendar do?

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