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Google Calendar Offers Life-Coaching Goals Feature

By Richard Adhikari
Apr 18, 2016 1:13 PM PT
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Google last week rolled out Goals in Google Calendar, a feature designed to help users achieve their personal goals.

Users set a goal, such as working out more often, and answer relevant questions, such as how often they want to work out and the best time for them to do so. Calendar then will sift through their schedules and select the best time to allocate for the task.

Calendar uses artificial intelligence, so it will get better at scheduling the more often it's used, the company said.

"With this launch, Google is bringing machine intelligence to our calendar app to help users make the most of their time," Google spokesperson Brooks Hocog remarked.

Time Management

"Goals will find time for you and block it off," he told TechNewsWorld. "You'll also get reminder notifications."

Users can choose to defer the task to another time, which Google will find for them.

"Google learns your schedule based on your confirmation and deferment patterns, and will stick around to motivate you to achieve your goals," Hocog explained.

Users who are pressed for time are very likely to try out the feature, "especially if they're already using the Google Calendar app," he contended.

The purpose of Goals "is to help you spend more time on the things you care about, and so far we see compelling evidence that scheduling time on your calendar is the best way to do that," Hocog said. "And we want to make this as easy for the user as possible."

Hope Springs Eternal

"This sounds amazing since I'm always busy and want more time to work out," Leon McDaniels wrote in response to Google's blog post about the feature. "Can't wait to see it and try it."

"When can I use this?" asked Sly Shippy. "Honestly, it sounds like just what I need, as skill and zen building are important to me and often ignored. I don't see this yet in my Google calendar, though I have a Nexus 5."

Goals "could be an interesting feature, especially if they allow developers to tap into it for other devices and applications," said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research. "Everything I do these days is electronic."

Planning for a goal is "sometimes the most difficult thing to do," he told TechNewsWorld. If Goals "is already on your phone and it helps you track your status, I think there are many people that would try it. I would."

Now You See It - No, You Don't

Goals wasn't available to all users immediately, some commenters noted.

"This doesn't seem available to my Google Calendar app yet," wrote Johnny Commenter. "I hate it when you announce something and then only give it to some markets. "

"Updated the Google Calendar app. But the 'goal' option is not showing," Akash Sarkar wrote.

Privacy Implications

"At what point does it cross over from being a helpmate to being a nuisance?" asked Laura DiDio, a research director at Strategy Analytics.

Privacy issues are a red flag, she told TechNewsWorld. "Sometimes it does get to be that you give [apps] too much information and they have too much power."

Facebook spied on people who shared private health information on several cancer-fighting organizations' websites, including the American Cancer Society, and used that data to generate profits, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

Some people prefer paper-based day timers "because they're nonvolatile and don't use a battery," and "I like the ability to ideate on it, [which] is hard to do in an electronic medium," said Mike Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

Process is more important than goals, he told TechNewsWorld.

"Goals can be limiting and inflexible," Jude said. "A process can deliver results over time that deliver goals." Also, a process "typically drives behavior in a more measurable way."


Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.


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