Just like they did with Gmail, Google have now added a special “Labs” area to their Calendar application, which means we get to test a bunch of cool new experimental features before they’re ready to be added to the main program. For people like me, who are always eager to test new apps and tools, this is way too great a temptation to resist. So if you’d like to see what goodies the new Google Calendar Labs offers, read on….
Background image – Lets you add a background image to your calendar. After enabling it, image options are found under the Settings > General tab. You can have the image displayed as tiled, centered or scaled to fit. Unfortunately it only works with online images (you can’t upload a photo from your hard drive) and depending on the image you choose, it can make the calendar really hard to read.
Attach Google Docs – This feature enables you to attach files from Google Docs (either documents, presentations or spreadsheets) to your events. Bear in mind though that if you want your event guests to be able to open the attached files, you will need to share each one of them.
World Clock – As you can tell from the name, this feature lets you keep track of the time in other parts of the world, which may come in handy for those of you who often work with people on other time zones. The world clock shows up in the top right corner of the calendar, and can be customized with the time zones of your choice. What’s more, when you click an event, you’ll also see the starting time in each selected time zone.
Jump to date – Displays a small window in the top right corner with a drop-down calendar that lets you jump between distant dates in the future or past in an easier way. According to Google, it doesn’t support time travel yet. This window is displayed in the same area as the World Clock, but if you feel they’re taking too much space in your Calendar you can minimize them by clicking the little black arrow beside the window’s title bar.
Next meeting -This feature is a simple, friendly reminder of your next event. Like the two previous ones, it displays a small window in the top right corner. The reminder includes all the basic information about the event, as well as the time remaining for it to occur.
Free or busy – Lets you check whether your friends are free or busy right now at a glance. You can add as many friends as you like to the list, which is displayed in a small window beside the calendar. Bear in mind that this feature requires that your friends share their Google Calendars with you. Here’s more information on how to share a Google Calendar with someone else.