Google Calendar Changes Simplify Event Management

Google has updated its Google Calendar API to make it easier for business users to schedule or reschedule employee activities.

Google has just made improvements in its Google Calendar API that make it easier for enterprises to schedule employee activities more accurately through new "event IDs," which are used to help differentiate different activities.

By incorporating this change, businesses will have an easier time managing calendars for multiple employees because the changes will be directly highlighted through an event ID, rather than through an internal database that previously managed activity changes, wrote Lucia Fedorova, the tech lead of the Google Calendar API Team, in a March 19 post on the Google Developers Blog.

"Imagine you work at a package delivery company and are developing a system for automatically assigning deliveries to your employees," wrote Fedorova. "Each of your employees has a work calendar in Google Calendar and needs to know when and where to be for the next delivery. Previously, you had to store an ID of an event in the internal deliveries database; otherwise you would not be able to find and update calendar events when work assignments changed."

Using a new event ID, however, users can "simply use the delivery ID as the ID of a corresponding event in Google Calendar," which will simplify the process, wrote Fedorova. "The complexity of figuring out which calendar event matches which delivery entirely disappears. This opens up a whole new set of integration options—for example, when an employee declines the calendar event, Google Calendar can notify you so that you can automatically reschedule the delivery to someone else."
To try the new procedure, users of Calendar can set the ID field when creating a new single or recurring event via the Calendar API v3 and see that it remains in place, she wrote. "The IDs must still follow certain format, but don't worry—it's possible to represent almost any content in the ID by using base32hex encoding."

The updated Calendar API also has received another change to help business users—they can now use the API to specify how they want to receive notifications each time an event is added to a calendar or a guest responds to an invitation, according to Fedorova. "The different types of change notifications can be toggled separately, which means you can set up different notification types for new events, changed events, canceled events, response updates and daily agendas. These settings are available for each calendar in the CalendarList collection."

More information about the changes is available in the Google Calendar API v3 documentation for Events and CalendarList.

Google Calendar received some other upgrades back in December 2013, when Google Calendar users and Gmail users saw feature improvements that gave them the ability to back up their Gmail and Calendar data for safekeeping or to transfer it to another application or service. Calendar and Gmail users also received new autocomplete address functions and quicker display of related events when using Google Calendar.

Another service improvement gained by Calendar users was that group event guest lists now automatically update as people join or leave a group, making it easier to manage the lists.

In August 2013, Google made it easier for users to find information they are seeking within their own Gmail, Google Calendar or Google+ accounts just by making a request using their own voice. The new feature brought capabilities that Google Now users have had for more than a year to the Google Search product and helps streamline information gathering for users. The voice search can also be used to view photographs that users have loaded into their Google+ accounts, again by asking to view the images for a specific trip.

In May 2013, Google unveiled a feature that allowed users who have Google Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photo accounts to put all their files in a unified place, rather than having to maintain separate storage areas depending on what kinds of files were being stored. Gmail users also got the ability in May to send money to others by sending "cash" in an email message. The new capability became possible because Google integrated its Google Wallet payment services with Gmail, allowing users to safely and securely send up to $10,000 per transaction to another person.