Google Calendar Has a Smart Rescheduler — It's Grrrrrrreat!

I’m one of those people who has a tough time trying to schedule meetings. What’s worse is that times change, mostly because of the ever-shifting deadlines that come with blogging. That’s one of the main reasons my calendar constantly descends into chaos. I turned to professional help, but if you are both like me and are a Google Calendar user, scheduling help could now be as simple as turning on a feature inside Google Calendar.

The new gadget, available in Google Calendar Labs, is called Smart Rescheduler. And it is dead simple. Once turned on, you can select an event and click “Find a new time” and the machine does the rest, offering up multiple options for folks to chose from.

Cyrus Mistery, Product Manager for Google Calendar told GigaOM that there are over 2 million businesses using Google Apps and many of them are large companies with many executives. “It becomes very hard to schedule meetings,” he said. While it is easy to find the next open spot or as Mistery called it, “a trivial computer science problem”, the harder problems emerge when say a meeting needs to happen before end of the week, without open slots and one person is in a remote location.

“That’s a search type problem and so we looked at our search algorithms and said yes, we can adapt these,”Mistery said. He pointed out that this can be used by consumers who are trying to schedule say dinner parties.

Cyrus Mistery, Product Manager for Google Calendar told GigaOM that there are over 2 million businesses using Google Apps and many of them are large companies with many executives. “It becomes very hard to schedule meetings,” he said. While it is easy to find the next open spot or as Mistery called it, “a trivial computer science problem”, the harder problems emerge when say a meeting needs to happen before end of the week, without open slots and one person is in a remote location.
David Marmaros, creator of the gadget, writes on the Gmail Blog:

[W]e decided to apply some of Google’s search experience to the problem of scheduling. We experimented with using ranking algorithms to return the most relevant meeting times based on specified criteria like attendees, schedule complexity, conference rooms, and time zones. Just like Google search ranks the web, our scheduling search algorithm returns a ranked set of the best candidate dates and times. […] You’ll see ranked list of possible times for your meeting. By investigating the calendars others have shared with you, Google Calendar can make some educated guesses about how easy it might be to reschedule a conflicting meeting and even find you a replacement conference room nearby. This process is 100% automated […]

I just tried it out, rescheduled a meeting, and yes: it works as advertised. For once, I am not going to complain about a Google product. :-)

Additional reporting by Liz Gannes.

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