The "other" beaker drops Simplify event prep by adding a Google Doc to your Google Calendar invite

Posted by maggie.hunsucker July 15, 2009

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Google Calendar users may have noticed a little green beaker in the right-hand navigation. This, of course, is the mark of Google Labs, which indicates that an experimental feature(s) has been rolled out.

We’re most excited about the new Google Docs attachment.   This one lets you attach a document (assuming you use Google Docs as well) to your event invitation. It’s important to note that your invitees don’t need a Google Docs account, but you will need to enable sharing on that particular document for them to access it.

This feature is ideal for disseminating a meeting agenda, a client presentation, or a sales report to your staff in preparation for the big event. Since the file is attached to the invitation, invitees will always have web-based access to the document (take that Outlook). Not to mention, there’s less risk of oversight with late additions to the guest list.

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To use the feature, you’ll need to enable it through the labs icon (a.k.a. the green beaker).  Once enabled, create an invite as you normally would in Google Calendar. Then, click on “Add a Google document,” which is below the event description. You can browse all your Google documents, filter by document type, or use the search bar. Press select, and you are set.

We’re Googlephiles in our office and use the whole productivity suite – Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, etc.. They’re free, web accessible, and intermingle with each other nicely. What’s really great about this new feature is the fact we can offer the same level of collaboration with outside users.

Google Calendars rolled out some other features of interest - the ability to add a background image to your calendar or jump to a specific date (without the tedious clicking on the next arrow), as well as an upcoming meeting feature.

Google Labs allows Google to throw out products (and feature upgrades to their existing products) without the commitment. While some products wait indefinitely in Google Labs, others graduate and are added to Google's main roster. You may be surprised to find what's already at your disposal.

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