Google Calendar Labs “Free or Busy” Should Be IM Integrated

August 2, 2009

Google Calendar Labs has introduced a new feature called “Free or Busy,” described as “See which of your friends are free or busy right now.”

You make a list of people who’s status you’d like to see, and a widget on the side displays their current calendar status based on their privacy and sharing settings.

It’s a neat idea, but in my opinion the calendar is the wrong place to view this information.  I use my calendar to see what I should be doing or to schedule things for later, not to check up on my friends. If I want to see what a friend is up to right now, I’ll check their instant messenger status, or maybe Facebook or Twitter. I already manage my friend lists in those applications.

Instant messengers are still the best tool for distributed presence information. This free/busy widget would make a great instant-messenger plugin.

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