New Labs Experiments for Google Calendar
Article by George Norman
On 15 Mar 2010
Google’s “20% time” is a program that allows its software engineers to spend one day per week working on something that is not in the job description. Whatever the software engineers come up with are posted as experiments in Labs – Gmail Labs, Google Maps Labs, Google Calendar Labs, and so on.

Three new experiments have recently been added to Google Calendars. These three experiments are:
  1. Event flair by Dave Marmaros
  2. Gentle reminders by Sorin Mocanu
  3. Automatically declining events by Lucia Fedorova and Miguel García
Event Flair
By turning this Labs experiment on, you can use some 40 different icons when you set up events. You can add a star icon next to a very important event; or a plane icon next to info about your upcoming business trip. To use these icons you need only turn on the “Event flair” experiment, then click on an event and look for the "Event flair" gadget to activate.


Please note that the people who invite to an event will be able to see the icons you added.

Gentle Reminders
If you stay online all day long, have the browser up and running and Google Calendar open, you’ll get to see a lot of reminders each day. By turning on “Gentle Reminders” the title of your calendar window or tab will start blinking when you get a notification. The event details will stay in Calendar.

Furthermore, if you’re using Google’s Chrome web browser, you will be able to get your reminders as floating desktop notifications (when this feature becomes available for Chrome).

Automatically declining events

Thanks to this Labs experiment you can set up Google Calendar to automatically decline an event if it is scheduled during your vacation, or during any period when you are not available.

If you would like to get started with Google Calendar, please click

In related news, the latest Gmail Labs release is an experiment called “Refresh POP Account.” If you have set up Gmail to fetch emails from a secondary account, you don’t have to wait for Gmail to automatically fetch those emails. You need only click the refresh link and your inbox will be updated with the latest messages from your secondary account.

In further related news, several experiments graduated out of Gmail Labs while several were retired – more details here.

Tags: Google, Labs, Google Calendar, Event flair, Gentle reminders, Automatically declining events
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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