In 2021, Google Calendar introduced a feature that it should have had years ago: the ability to show others your availability when setting an appointment. While the feature was initially available only to Google Workspace Individual subscribers, it opened up for more Workspace accounts last year, as long as you're forking over $12 per month for the Workspace Business Standard plan or a pricier tier. Google finally announced in June that the appointment scheduling feature was coming to personal Google account owners as part of Calendar's integration with Gmail, and the company is now following through.
Some Gmail users, whether on a Workspace tier or a personal account, can now create a new calendar event from an email and pick the time slots they want to offer as availability to their friends, family, or colleagues. Gmail already provides an option to create an event from an email, but doing so takes the recipient to a separate Calendar tab to complete the task.
The new feature allows you to do that without having to exit Gmail — all you need to do is click the new calendar icon at the bottom of the compose box. Two options will then appear: "Create an event" and "Offer times you’re free." The former does exactly what it says on the tin, generating a Calendar event with the email recipients as participants.
Meanwhile, another option allows you to share your availability by inserting suggested meeting times from Calendar into an email without leaving the draft. When you click it, a Calendar screen opens up in the right sidebar, letting you select time slots on various days to share with the recipient. When the recipient receives the invitation, they will be able to select the most convenient time slot for them, and an automated calendar invite will be sent via email.
However, while you can offer available slots in an email to multiple users, only the first one who confirms a specific time will be automatically added to the calendar invite. This means it's only available for one-on-one meetings at the moment.
The in-line scheduling tool has begun rolling out for users in the Rapid Release domains, while those in the Scheduled Release domains should start seeing the new capability by the end of July.