I won’t go into the whole Premium Google Apps stuff… Plenty of others have covered that since last night. What I wanted to (briefly) discuss was a new, undocumented feature I encountered while using Google Calendar this morning: Guest and Resource Availability.
Before I go on… obviously this is a feature that Outlook has had for years, and it’s especially useful when used with an Exchange Server. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before in an online calendar application.
When creating a new event in Google Calendar, you now have the option to “Check guest and resource availability”.
Clicking on the link, gives you the menu previewed below. (It appears right on top of the Add Event screen.) Due to space constraints, I’m only showing a small portion of the menu. The menu actually spans the full width of the available browser area when available. (Click here to see a full preview.)
It shows you a person’s availability for the day(s) you’re planning your event for. You’re able to modify the timeframe you’re looking to schedule your meeting, and you’re able to filter whether you only want to view Working Hours Only. If you want to add additional guests, you simply type their name in the Add a Person text field. If the person is in your Contact List, it’ll auto-suggest a person based on what you’ve typed:
Once you’ve added guests, you’ll be able to see whether they are available for your event. If the person you’ve added isn’t publicly sharing their calendar events with you, it will let you know.
Once you’re done with this screen, you click Okay and go back to the Event entry screen. It auto-adds the guests you’ve entered in the ‘Find a Time’ windows into your Guest List for the event (so you can send them an invite to it).
This is a great addition to Google Calendar… especially on the heels of the Google Apps Premier announcement. It’s one of those little details that most people can do without, but would work really well for businesses…