Google is rolling out some changes to its G Suite Calendar which deliver new automation to make things easier when it comes to keeping work and personal time separate. Those include a new "Out of office" feature and the ability to schedule working hours. Both center around setting times that users won't be available but perform in slightly different ways. For those whose work doesn't follow a set weekly schedule, Out of office is a block type similar to setting birthdays or multi-day events. Like those other object types, they are created by clicking and dragging across multiple days to bring up the object creation menu. After selecting the "Out of office" option, new and existing meetings will be automatically declined during the selected days. Custom messages can be set to ensure that others know why the meeting was declined and the visibility of the object to other G Suite users can be adjusted.
The company is also incorporating some machine learning into the Out of office feature, which will try to auto-detect whether a newly created block is for Out of office time based on the input title. For example, if the user titles the block with the word "vacation" the system might catch that and set the type as "Out of office." Similarly, Google Calendar will also gain the ability to intelligently predict the range of times scheduled for a standard work week. That's part of a second feature which allows users to select their working hours for a given week. Users will be able to accept, customize, or decline the automatic creation of a week's schedule via a prompt and that will be based on past work scheduling, timezone, and similarly pertinent information. The auto-decline feature for meetings shows up again with scheduling, preventing those from being set up outside of working hours.
Google says the new tool is a small part of its larger initiative to improve digital well-being for users. That's an area of focus the company has placed considerable resources into and which extends to nearly all of its products. In fact, as of I/O 2018, the search giant has plans to incorporate it into Android itself with the release of Android P. With regard to the G Suite tools, those are already launching via the Rapid Release channel and will be rolling out to the Scheduled Release channel in the next couple of weeks. The full rollout of either should take just a few days to complete.