Recently Google added three more gadgets to labs in Google Calendar. These include event flair, gentle reminders, and automatically decline events. Here is a list of the 5 coolest (and most useful) Google Calendar labs.
To enable any of these gadgets, you have to visit Google Calendar Labs. Select “enable” next to any of the functions you would like to try out, and save your changes to activate your new settings.
Automatically declining events
This new function will let you block off times in your calendar when you are unavailable, or when you have other commitments. Whether it is another appointment, or you are on vacation, any invitations sent for events during these periods are automatically declined. It saves you work, and avoids getting double booked. After you enable this feature, you’ll find a “Busy (decline invitations)” option in the “Show me as” field.
Free or Busy
This function allows you to see if your friends are currently free or busy. Handy tool if you have a friend (or significant other) you have spontaneous coffee breaks with and want to make sure they are not occupied before calling. It does require your contacts to share their calendars with you in order for you to use this function, but if you have a lot of friends sharing, you can see with a click of a button who might be up for a cup of java when you are taking a break as well.
When you keep Google Calendar open all day long, and you are having a busy day, it doesn’t help your productivity to get reminders popping up all the time. Gentle reminders still gives you reminders, but the Calendar window or tab will start blinking without interfering with the window you are looking at at that time. All event details will stay in Calendar, which you can access when you click on the Calendar tab.
Once enabled, you can stick cute icons to your events. There are little planes to label your flights or vacations with, food icons for meals or parties. Don’t go too crazy, because if you organize an event like an office party, and stick an angry smiley face in with it (if you don’t feel like a party with colleagues for example), all other invited attendees can see the icon you’ve used. Event Flair shows up to the right of your Calendar, and you can use the same icon for all recurring events in a series, or just for one.
Jump to Date
Sometimes I need to see how my appointments are looking on a particular date a few months in the future. Manually scrolling to my Calendar is one option, or I can use Jump to Date. Enable it in Labs, and a box where you can select the date you want to jump to shows up to the right of your Calendar.