I use my Google Calendar for everything from business and doctor appointments to birthday and anniversary reminders. In fact, I don’t think I could manage my busy life without it, and I can’t imagine going back to writing everything down on a physical calendar or in a planner.
With the introduction of virtual assistants, you can take it a step further. If you happen to own an Amazon Echo, you can ask Alexa to read your upcoming calendar events. All you have to do is download the Amazon Alexa app and connect it to your your calendar of choice, and she will let you know what you have coming up on your schedule without you having to look it up.
For families, my favorite calendar app has gone to a whole new level with Google’s Family Calendar. Shortly after the I/O Developers Conference, which was held this year in Mountain View, CA from May 17 – 19, 2017, Google announced additional Family Library settings with Calendar, Keep, and Photos.
The original Family Library was launched about a year ago, allowing up to 6 family members (including the manager of the account) to share their apps, games, books, movies, and TV shows. It allowed a family member to sign up, decide the group’s payment method, and then set limits on purchases to keep everyone on the same page.
The addition of Google’s Family Calendar is appealing, but I’m not completely convinced it is much different than how the current calendar works. At this time it is in beta mode, and the next post provides more info:
Google family calendars are going live
The premise behind the family calendar is simple. When you create a family on Google, a calendar called ‘Family’ automatically appears for all members in Google Calendar. Anyone in the family can modify events and rename the calendar, but non-family members cannot be added.
While this isn’t a groundbreaking feature, as sharing a calendar between Google accounts has been possible for years, this does make sharing events between family members a bit simpler. In addition, this also avoids duplicate calendar events when one member shares an event with another.
Read the full post here: Google family calendars are going live
The Family Library that was released in July of 2016 has features that help parents keep a handle on their kids’ purchases. It allows everyone to share their favorite stuff and it’s all on the cloud.
In May of this year, Google consolidated all of its family-sharing products under the new Family groups feature, with the capability to enjoy YouTube TV and Play Music Family Plan, as well as the Google Play Family Library. It seems Google is regularly updating their products, gearing them toward the future.
Setting up the payment method for everyone to use simplifies the process, and you can have it set so that kids up to 17 years of age will need to have their purchases approved. This offers peace of mind for parents, since the manager of the account can add and delete members, and it also keeps kids out of hot water.
The following video offers a description of the features of Family Library:
The idea that Google has become more family oriented with their Family Groups feature is impressive, but there are some restrictions. Auto-sharing doesn’t just happen and there is some initial setup with each feature.
You can only change your family group membership every 12 months, you need to live in the same country as the family member that manages the group, and if one of the family member leaves the group, all of their purchases are no longer available to others.
I do agree with the following tweet as to how nice it would be to know each other’s schedule, and especially when you are out of town on a vacation as a way to check in:
Create a schedule for everyone in the family with Google calendar pic.twitter.com/BPp8yCpmMz
— RESEARCH STAR (@research_star) June 12, 2017
We decided to sign up for the Google calendar to see what it was like but because it isn’t available to everyone, I still don’t see it as one of my calendar options. One feature we use regularly, though, is Google Photos to share pictures and albums.
I will be curious to see if it is widely used by families across the 14 countries that are available. It definitely seems like it would be beneficial for parents trying to keep an eye on and organize their kids’ activities.