Google+, the social network Google is integrating into almost all of its other Web services, is rolling out a new feature today: Events. The idea is to make scheduling events and keeping track of the details (attendees, photos, etc.) a breeze.
Creating an event
To create an event, simply head to your Google+ page. Click on Events in the left-hand side menu to open the details window.
There are a lot of stock pictures with small animations -- called "cinegraphs" -- added by default in the theme section at the top of the window, and they look pretty good. You'll find choices for cookouts, dinners, weddings, nightclubs, beaches, and so on. Pick your favorite or best-fitting cinegraph.
Enter a title for your event, like "Cookout and beach time!" then adjust the invite settings so you can control who is inviting people to the event you're creating. Select a date and time for the event, and also a location. If you start typing in the box for location, Google will try to assist you by linking the Google Maps entry. You can add a description in the next text box. This area is good if you need to provide special instructions like what to bring, parking, or dress code. Finally you can add the people you want to invite to your event. Start typing a friend's name and Google+ will auto-complete it for you.
After all the setup, you'll be presented with a beautifully formatted event page.
When you get invited to an event in Google+, you'll see a drop-down box at the top right-hand corner of the event information that lets you select your RSVP status. Before making your RSVP official, you can hover over the "Are you going?" button (see screenshot below). This will give you the option to check your availability in Google Calendar or see directions on a map that appears.
On the Google Event page, you and your guests will have the option to invite other people (over on the right side of the page).
This next part is arguably the coolest feature in Google Events, and it's what the company spent the majority of the time on when describing Events at today's Google I/O keynote. During an event, attendees can share their photos in real time. For this, you'll need to download the new Google+ app for Android, then turn on what's called Party Mode. This mode lets you automatically upload videos and photos to the event page, sharing them with all other attendees. You'll also be able to see whatever photos other attendees take and upload.
After the event, you can continue to upload photos to your user "folder" either from your phone or your PC. An e-mail will be sent to attendees not using Google+ to ask them to upload theirs as well. If this feature catches on, it could be the first time in the history of parties that everyone taking photos at an event actually shares photos to one repository.
Whether it's a social event or work function, keeping track of everyone's photos and RSVP status is a snap with Google+ Events.
Check out the other announcements made at Google I/O 2012.