Introducing Google Calendar Labs

July 13, 2009

It's hard to believe it's been more than three years since we introduced Google Calendar to the world. (It's true, I just checked my calendar.) In that time we've received countless ideas and suggestions, including many from my fellow Googlers, and trying to decide which of those to build can be is difficult.

We try to balance usefulness and impact, but often that's not enough. A feature may be useful to only a small handful of people, but to those folks it might be incredibly important. This is especially the case with some of our enterprise customers who are looking for ways to extend Calendar in highly specialized ways that would apply only to their employees.

We've been looking for a way to release early features to users in a quick and experimental fashion, but in a way that would let developers and customers outside of Google extend Calendar too. We've seen how successful Gmail Labs has been and decided Calendar deserved Labs too.

When you sign in to Calendar today, you'll see a new page in Settings called Labs where, just like in Gmail, we'll list new highly experimental features for you to try. (Those of you who use Google Apps at work or school will first need your domain admins to enable Labs by checking the "Turn on new features" box in Domain Settings.)

Today there are six new Labs features in the list and more on the way. Try out Next Meeting, which shows you how much time you have to procrastinate. Free or Busy allows you to see which of your friends or coworkers are currently in meetings. And World Clock lets you keep track of different timezones when you schedule meetings. And as with Gmail Labs, there's a feedback link for you to discuss these features and to suggest new ones.

We're also releasing an experimental API for you to build your own Calendar features, so if you're a developer, check out this post at the Google Code Blog for more details.

Posted by David Marmaros, Software Engineer