Last year, we had a little poll to see what the most requested feature was, and, as you might have guessed, it was “Integrate Google Calendar“. And it won by a huge margin!

Just to make sure I understood why it was so valuable, I then did lots of follow up calls with those of you who were kind enough to tolerate talking to me for 30 minutes πŸ™‚

Fundamentally, it turns out it’s about making your Today list less overwhelming…

Here’s the new Due Date picker, that includes Google Calendar syncing:

By choosing to add some emails to Google Calendar, you get the benefit of:

  • Promote really important things to the calendar to be sure it’ll be done.
  • Reschedule ActiveInbox items from within Google Calendar, using the true 2-way sync.

A few provisos:

We’re only releasing this to the Beta channel for now, because:

  • We expect there to be bugs! This is a pretty big feature behind the scenes.
  • It’s shockingly ugly to look at. Ironically by design… We want to see how the feature gets used before baking it into something attractive.
  • It isn’t supported on mobile yet – that will come if the feature proves itself πŸ™‚
  • We have a new feature to come: You’ll be able to take advantage of Google Calendar’s start-time (which ActiveInbox Due Dates don’t support) – ActiveInbox will keep items hidden on your Today list until their time has come, keeping your Today list focused just on things you can do right now.

Remi is actively working on it though, to get your requests built in πŸ™‚

Install the Beta Channel

  1. Go to your own Chrome Extensions list (go to ‘More Tools’ then ‘Extensions’)
  2. Uninstall ActiveInbox
  3. Install the Beta channel

(If you want to switch back to the mainstream channel, uninstall ActiveInbox Beta, and then install the regular version from our website).

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This post was written by AndyM

  • Christof KΓ€lin

    You guys are awesome πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Christof! (I totally do it for responses like this πŸ˜‰ ).

  • Awesome. And a belated apology for flaking *twice* on scheduled calls…

    Now to figure how this fits into my flow.

    • It would be really good to hear about where you fit it actually – do you want to share it here?

      And I totally understand about the phone calls given our time zone differences πŸ™‚ Would still love to chat one day though!

  • Duncan Courtney

    Awesome, just awesome

  • K. Adam Bloom

    It’s not working for me — the calendar it’s trying to add the event to doesn’t exist, I think, so when I click, “edit this event in google calendar,” it opens the calendar and says, “this event does not exist.”

  • Corrado Del Po

    This feature is amazing. Good.
    How long you think about releasing it?
    bye

    • Hi Corrado – hopefully we’ll be able to release it properly in a week or so. The beta period is really just about spotting major issues.

  • Mark Dembo

    Love this feature! Very helpful! Question – if I schedule a task onto the GOogle calendar, and then move it to a different time (from the calendar) will that also update it on the AIB task/today list?

    • Hey Mark – I’m pleased to report the answer is yes πŸ™‚ (But if not, then let me know because it’s a beta failure!).

  • Angus

    This is a great addition. A couple of suggestions –

    It is easy to book things in at the same time from your Inbox. Is it possible to build in a warning that you are going to do that? It’d help with ‘flow’ if you didn’t have to sort out unexpected calendar clashes.

    Secondly, on the same theme, could you have an option where you predict how much time you think a task will take (a bit like you can assign times now) and let it find a space in your calendar? E.g. you decide it’s going to take an hour so you set that parameter and hit ‘Find this week’ or ‘Find next week’ etc and it just slots it in amongst other commitments for you.

    • Hey Angus,

      Thank you for the feedback – I love this kind of discussion!

      1. With time, we’d like to add a more visual date picker (instead of the dropdown), which will allow us to overlay existing dates. But duly noted πŸ™‚

      2. That’s an interesting idea… It’s not something we’ve thought about before. I like it conceptually (especially for religious calendar users) but I worry about the reality… Do you not think you’ll feel like you’ve lost track of it (as it might feel ‘randomly’ assigned), or you might have to enter a ton of rules upfront (“this is my work window”, “this is my lunch hour”, etc.). And of course, if the event requires more than one person, it would require more negotiation. Oh dear, I’ve naturally sprung for the cautions… on the positive side, what will be the underlying benefit you gain from having it?

      • Angus

        Yeah, it may be more hassle than the end result is worth.

        I was thinking about some of the simpler and less time critical tasks. Say I had to read a paper but didn’t care when in the week I did it.

        One of the advantages is that this new feature has the potential to add discipline to keeping out of your Inbox by getting more tasks easily into a calendar you can work from.

  • Jan Einar Ingier

    Been missing this – Very nice addition πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Jan πŸ™‚

      • Jan Einar Ingier

        After a couple of days with use, i like it even more. But I find the DropDown menu for selecting the Time a bit difficult to use, as we are used to 24-hour (as most European users will do). When selecting a Time in the afternoon, I have to do a calculation in my head to figure what is same as for instance 18 or 21 etc. So nice if you are able to configure 24 Hours vs AM/PM Time display…

        Here is a video showing which countries are using the different formats:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7L71i9uv3o&feature=youtu.be

  • Angus

    I’m finding that I have to select the option to save to calendar to bring up the pop-up box. Select the date, which makes the pop-up box disappear and then go through the process again to set the time. If I try to do the time first, nothing happens.

    • Which pop-up do you mean Angus? The one where you approve your Google account? You should only ever see that once…

      • Ted

        No, not there. It is when you are in a message and click Due Date, then Add to calendar, then Choose a date. The window then disappears and you have to repeat the steps to edit time, title, etc.

      • Angus

        Ted has clarified. Thanks Ted!

        • Angus

          Aha! Just found that if you select the date the old fashioned way i.e under the ‘Due Date’ column and then tick ‘Add to calendar’ it works.

          Might be worth making it possible to do either way.

  • Mark Dembo

    One thing I’ve noticed (unless I’m missing it) – if I click the “new task” button in gmail to manually enter a new task, not from an email, the “Add to Calendar” option does not appear on the due date menu. Can that be added in?

  • Ted

    Being able to set a reminder/notification for the event through AIB through the “Add to calendar” would be great. This would be like the feature in Google calendar, but setting it through the AIB “Add to calendar”. For example, setting the item to return not on the due-date, but two days before would be helpful. I know that we can look forward using “This Week”, but sometimes I need to be reminded that I need to start working on something a day or two in advance for a deadline.

    • Thanks Ted – I’ll check with Remi, but I think this should be straight forward to support.

      Although I must confess a hesitance to add a reminder in addition to a due date – it’s always struck me as slightly overwhelming. I’m not really sure what the better approach is though… I guess in a perfect world you’d treat the due date as a definitive milestone, and set tasks/events in the run up.

      If the reminder was two days earlier, would you expect it to appear on your Today list two days earlier? Or just get a notification?

  • Joe Nardi

    If I try to select a calendar date in the future after its already on my TODAY list it seems to still stay on my today list. Do I need to somehow remove it from today list?

    • Joe Nardi

      Sorry I guess I wasn’t picking a day in the future but lets say the task is due today at 2PM. Can I set a time of 2PM and have it disappear from my today list until then? or does it need to stay on my today list if it is due at anytime during the day?