If you've been on the fence about ditching Outlook for Google Apps you might want to give Google's efforts another look. In a blog post this morning the company outlined some of the ways Google Calendar has improved over the past month with a handful of small, but important features. Many of them are aimed squarely at business users.
One of the new improvements, flexible reminders, seems like the most minor--but it's not. Setting up reminders in the previous system had presets on when you'd be able to get the message. The new system is far more customizable and lets you drop in whatever time you want, complete with an option for days, which means you could set a reminder years in advance. You can still set whether you want it as a pop-up, e-mail or SMS message, the last of which I find to be the most useful if your mobile phone doesn't sync up with Google Calendar.
The other major improvement, which is more business-centric is the option to selectively e-mail meeting attendees. Like Outlook you can now get a separate list of people who have replied yes, no, or maybe and e-mail specific groups without perturbing the others. In both the business and social world, this is a great way to send notices and reminders without spamming the in-boxes of people who have already responded.
Alongside these two features is a slight upgrade to the event creation tool which now allows for overlapping events, as well as a new two-click calendar subscription shortcut that lets you subscribe to someone else's calendar without having to deal with special invites or permissions.