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Google offers 'helpful assistant' with new Calendar upgrade

04 Nov 2014

Google has launched a brand new calendar app, considered the biggest makeover since its launch.

Designed to be a helpful assistant, the new calendar has added features meant to make it a more intuitive and smart-time management tool.

To compete with the likes of Microsoft's Outlook email and calendar app, Google needed to up its game. Microsoft's Outlook email and calendar app remains entrenched in enterprises, and Google cannot afford to have a weak calendar component in its Apps suite.

In a blog post, Ian Leader, Google product manager says “it takes a lot of work to stay on top of your schedule. You have to manually enter that hotel or dinner reservation, then update it if your plans change. You have to hunt around for addresses and phone numbers, then add them to your events. And if you’re on a mobile device, you might just give up on these kinds of tasks entirely”.

He says that calendars (like email) should do better—especially on phones and tablets—so Google has set out to build one that’s always at your service.

The improvements to the Calendar come a week after Google launched Inbox, currently only available via invitation.

Assists iGoogle has also added "assists" to Calendar, a feature that learns from people's usage of the app and proactively makes auto-complete suggestions as they type in an entry for people, places and other elements.

The Calendar app now also features what Google calls Schedule View, which adds aesthetic elements to calendar entries, such as illustrations and photos, to make them not only prettier but also easier to recognize at a glance.

The most important feature of the new app is no doubt the instant recognition of event emails in Gmail. In the new calendar app, event details included in emails will be automatically turned into Calendar events, complete with the nitty gritty.

The new Calendar app will run on all smartphones and tablets running Android 4.1 and above. It's available now on all Android 5.0 Lollipop devices and will be in the Google Play store in the coming weeks. An upgrade for the iOS Calendar app is in the works.

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