Because it was looking dated
After years of sticking with pretty much the same design, the tired old Google Calendar for the web has finally – finally – gotten a makeover. The new look conforms to Google’s Material Design guidelines, which the company had already rolled out to most of its mobile applications and desktop web interfaces in 2015. (See a before-and-after comparison here.) Google hopes the sleek new design will “help you manage your time more efficiently and get stuff done.”
Among the visual updates are a fresh colour palette, larger date icons, and in-context event entry boxes, all of which bring the interface in line with the mobile app. More importantly, the new layout is responsive, so it will auto-adjust to the size of your browser window.
The changes are not just skin deep, however, as Google has improved functionality with a focus on enterprise users. For example, admins can now attach details about their company’s meeting rooms, so that employees can check how large they are, whether they’re wheelchair accessible, and what resources (e.g. AV equipment) are available.
Calendar invites can now also include rich formatting and links to relevant documents, spreadsheets or presentations. The idea is that all the information and materials required for a meeting are in the one place so teams are prepared and more productive.
Another new feature is the ability to view and manage multiple calendars side by side in “Day” view – something which, as far as I know, has been in Microsoft Outlook since 2007. The benefit of this is easier assessment of employee availabilities to help avoid potential scheduling conflicts.
In addition to these headline features are a number of smaller user experience improvements, the details of which you can read in this post. G Suite admins can immediately enable the new features, and personal users can click on the “Use new Calendar” button in the upper-right-hand corner of the Calendar view to access the sweet new interface.