Google Calendars as Resource Schedulers


CSE has tried to schedule its conference room usage with various technologies, achieving varying degrees of success. The original standby is a conference room scheduling book sitting on the Bell 201 departmental office reception desk. In 2007, we tried implementing the Oracle Collaboration Suite as a scheduler, but that solution was universally reviled as slow and kludgy. It was uniformly rejected. So we returned to the default scheduling book.

Now, in 2011, we're going to try using Google Calendars as Resource Schedulers.

How to View Conference Room Calendars

From your Google Calendar (Read-Write, if you're authorized)

Via Local Web Page (Read-Only)

How to Schedule an Event

This procedure is fairly nonintuitive.

Each conference room has its own Google calendar. Instead of setting Location = 'Conference Room', you need to invite the conference room to the meeting as an attendee. If the conference room is not busy at the time, it will automatically accept your invitation.

Unfortunately, this is the only way to make Google resource-scheduling work. This procedure complies with Google's recommendations (below).

  1. Login to your Google 'Calendar' page view with your Google credentials (this procedure will fail if you use a non-Google account):
  2. From the left column, select 'My Calendars' -> [Your Name] -> Create event on this calendar
  3. Assign a title to this event. In the 'Add guests' textbox, include one conference room using its Calendar ID (email address):
    Davis 113A
    Davis 310
    Davis 337
    Davis 338A
  4. Click 'Save'.
  5. Switch to your Google 'Gmail' page view and check your Inbox. If the conference room declined your event, somebody else has already booked it at your chosen date/time. If the conference room accepts your event, you have successfully booked it.

How to Create a New Resource Calendar

  1. Login to the CSE Google Calendar.
  2. Select 'My Calendars' -> 'Create New Calendar'. A new calendar is also known as a 'secondary calendar'.
  3. Fill in the relevant fields. In 'Calendar Name', give it a good, descriptive, short name ('Bell 224'). In 'Description', imitate and continue descriptions of existing calendars ('Bell 224 Conference Room').
  4. Click 'Create Calendar'.
  5. Perhaps the most important step is to enable this calendar's 'Auto-accept invitations' setting to make it a true resource-scheduling device.
    1. In the calendar list on the left, click on the down-arrow button next to the target conference room, select 'Calendar settings,' then select the 'Calendar Details' tab.
    2. Enable the 'Auto-accept invitations' feature by selecting 'Auto-accept invitations that do not conflict.'
    3. Click 'Save.'
  6. Share the calendar.
    1. Click on the down-arrow next to the calendar you created and select 'Share this calendar.'
    2. Click 'Make this calendar public'.
    3. Select the desired shared permission level (Must be 'See all event details' or higher.)
    4. Click 'Save'.


  1. You need a personal Google account in order to participate. This procedure will not work with non-Google accounts. Fortunately, Google accounts are free:
  2. Google Calendar Integration with Thunderbird 6.x via Lightning and Provider seems to be broken. 'Reload remote calendars' makes all events disappear from Thunderbird's Calendar page.
  3. We might also try using Google Calendars to schedule loaner laptops and portable videoprojectors.


  1. Schedule resources via Google Calendar
  2. Schedule an event on a resource calendar
  3. Set available hours on your resource calendar