If you have a Gmail account or a Google Apps account you can use Google Calendar to schedule meetings and tasks, and to share your calendar with friends or coworkers. While calendar may seem like one of the more straightforward applications in the Google Apps suite, Google has developed some new features for Calendar in the past year that you may have missed.
1. Appointment slots
You can now block off certain times on your calendar called appointments. When you block off an appointment slot, Google Calendar will generate a special URL that can be shared with friend and colleagues. Those individuals can then view your open timeslots and book a meeting with you. This is great for teachers, managers, and service providers.
2. Publishing your Google Calendar on your web site
If you run your business or organization with Google Calendar you may want to post a public calendar for your customers or the community to view. Using the Google Calendar publishing feature you can generate html code so that you can publish your calendar on your business or organization’s web site. Then, whenever you make changes to the events in Google Calendar, the events will automatically update on the site where you published your calendar. This is a great tool if you want to publish an events calendar, an open-house schedule, a class schedule, or your office hours.
3. Booking shared resources with Google Calendar
Do you have shared resources like digital cameras, laptops, or cars within your organization? If you use Google Apps you can schedule these resources from within Google Calendar by using the Google Apps Administrator to enter a listing of your shared assets into the control panel of your Google Calendar. Then, when you want to book a resource, you can just select the Rooms tab from within the Event Details screen and you will see a listing of all the available shared resources. If the resource is available you will see a green sqaure, if it’s unavailable you will see a red square. Once you book the resource, it will be unavailable to others during that time. If you’re a lynda.com member, check out the Booking a resource or room video in chapter five of my Google Calendar Essential Training course to learn more about inputting and booking shared resources.
Although we just finished completely rerecording our Google Calendar course to incorporate the latest 2012 updates, keep an eye out as we will continue to update it frequently as changes and updates emerge.