At I/O 2018, Google announced that moving forward its products would reduce technology’s distractions in day-to-day life. Digital Wellbeing features are now coming to Google Calendar to help users better manage work and personal time.
Instead of just creating an event on a work calendar that notes how you won’t be available, Google Calendar now has an “Out of office” event type. Appearing alongside the event and reminder options, setting “Out of office” will automatically decline new and existing meetings.
The periods set to this new alert will be boldly highlighted, while all unaccepted calendar appointments will be struck off. Users can add a decline message and customize who can see the out of office status.
In the future, Calendar will leverage Google’s AI smarts and “try to intelligently detect, based on the title entered, when you’re creating an out of office object and change the type automatically.”
Meanwhile, Google Calendar now allows for more granular work hours that notify people scheduling meetings outside these times that you’re unavailable. This feature is now new, but previously hours could only be set to one strict block of time. Now, work periods can be customized day-to-day.
Google will again use machine learning to infer your work hours based on time zones and past scheduling patterns. It will offer a prompt to set what it assumes your hours are, with users able to further refine after the fact.
Google Calendar’s Digital Wellbeing features are rolling out to all users in the coming weeks.