Google may be a big part of everyday life for a lot of people thanks to Android but many users aren't aware that some of its products can be used to plan social events well beyond simple text messaging and email. Of course, it must be said that social media has become the go-to forum for holding discussions, running polls, and planning get-togethers. Even alarm clocks can be social now. However, there are some events that just require more comprehensive logistical planning such as weddings, family reunions, or even just an afternoon gathering for a meal. In those cases simply asking friends and family to attend falls well short of what's needed to line everything up. Although there are plenty of other services that can fill the role, Google's services already installed on the majority of mobile devices and free web variations of those are tools available.
For a basic summary of who is or is not attending a gathering, particularly when the event has a concrete time and date, Google Calendar is the obvious choice. The usual calendar settings for exact date and time are available, as are the settings for whether the event repeats and notification methods but Google goes beyond that with its calendar. It's also possible to easily set a specified location for the calendar event and to add both "guests" and a description of the event. Guests to the event will be notified by email and, if they have Google calendar, the event will be added by default. Controls can be set to determine what a guest can do with an event, such as allowing them to invite others, make modifications, or view the guest list. They'll also be able to mark whether they'll be attending or not and that's where Calendar shines as a planning tool. Once guests have marked an option, that response will be viewable by the event's creator and others who can view the guest list. An overview of the numbers of guests is provided as well.
In situations where more fine-tuning to an event is required Google Forms makes a near perfect supplement to Calendar. It effectively allows users to generate and share forms, including RSVPs. Once the form is set up, guests can be sent a link to the form for them to fill it out. They're shared by email directly from the form creation or via a link generated upon completion of the form. Google won't take over the organization of responses in forms and there's no mobile app for it available yet, but those are easily viewable via a spreadsheet which is created simultaneously in Google Drive – allowing for access to responses from anywhere. Since Google Forms allows for surveys, users can effectively use the service to determine the best date or time for an event, garner feedback on food or event location, or any other information that might be pertinent to planning. Once those details are worked out, users simply need to set up the date in Calendar to get an idea of how many people are attending and who exactly will be there.