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Google Calendar gets 'smart' rescheduling

Google Calendar users who want a non-third-party solution for finding the best times to reschedule a meeting now have an official option by Google.


Google is trying to solve a very difficult part of personal time management with a new experimental rescheduling feature for the free and paid versions of its online Calendar service.

Smart rescheduling, as Google calls it, lets Google Calendar event creators pick another time for a meeting based on the shared schedules of its participants. The feature, which numerous start-ups have attempted to solve over the years, automates the process of finding these new times.

The only requirement in this case, is that your other attendees have shared their calendars with you. This may be a bit of a stretch if you're doing a one-off meeting with someone for the first time, but for users of the premier, and enterprise Google Apps tiers, this can be integrated into whatever conference room scheduling tool is being used; the results of which get factored in during a search for open times.

Google Calendar users can now automate the process of rescheduling an event with a Labs feature called the smart rescheduler. Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

As Google explains it, the creation of the smart-rescheduling algorithm had much in common with the company's search algorithm. Just like how the company sorts out Web results, the smart rescheduler ranks new times by what it thinks is best. There are also ways for the meeting organizer to tweak the suggestions it offers by changing the time range you'd find acceptable (just like when doing a search for airplane tickets), as well as who you want or need to come. These are all things that can be toggled when viewing its suggestions.

The one big thing missing, that companies like Timebridge, Tungle, and Doodle have played around with, is making the process of deciding a new time a bit more democratic. All three of those services let recipients reach a consensus on a time that works, which may not scale well, but keeps each user's calendaring tools out of the equation.

Google is currently offering smart rescheduling as a Google Calendar Labs item, meaning users will have to toggle it on from that option menu. Recipients, however, do not need to change any settings for it to work.