A large chunk of the internet has been fighting over digital calendar etiquette seemingly forever (OK, since January) thanks, in large part, to the ubiquity of scheduling software Calendly. Soon, even more people could be fighting about it, as Google is integrating a feature that looks a whole lot like it into Google Calendar.
The company announced on Friday that the full rollout will arrive by April 6, though the new feature was first introduced to Workspace Individual users last year. The feature will help “reduce time spent finding and scheduling appointments” because it can detect schedule conflicts when users try to make an appointment. That probably means telling colleagues to “find a time on my calendar” when they want to schedule a meeting is about to become the norm. (For what it's worth, Microsoft Outlook has experimented with add-ons and features that help users find free time on the calendar since at least 2017.)
Calendly’s core offering is a similar feature. It has the ability, though, to integrate with five different calendars, including Google Calendar. It can also easily be linked up with Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Stripe and PayPal, all core parts of its appeal to a broader user base.
“Calendly is more than a scheduling link and offers an ecosystem that’s proven difficult for others to match,” a spokesperson told Protocol.
Big tech companies have long thrived off creating copycat products, whether by taking ideas from startups or from each other. To take a recent example, Microsoft integrated features very similar to collaborative editing software and app Notion into Microsoft Loop. Major companies' ability to roll out copycat features to broad user bases that are more likely to use a feature integrated into the products they already use rather than signing up for a new service has helped kill or weaken potential rivals. Of course, some of Google’s more than 4 billion global users have surely never heard of Calendly, and will probably benefit from the new feature on Google Calendar. And like Calendly said: It's so much more than that.
Still, there's ample frustration over the perceived move into Calendly's territory. “Calendly is a black-founded company that reached and fit an incredible market of busy professionals,” tweeted Killed by Google, an account that tracks projects Google has finished or abandoned. “Yet another example to point to how Big Tech can come in, implement just pieces of someone else’s product, and end up destroying them because they already have the user capture with Google Workspace."