Why you don't need snooze with Google Calendar

18 Sep 2010
Posted by Kiran

Ever since I moved to Android from Windows Mobile, I have been complaining about the Android Platform's seeming limitation in handling Calendar reminders. The fact that the Android Calendar gave me only one 5-minute snooze option always troubled me and I have written about this annoyance in the past too.

I promptly bought Calendar Snooze, an application available in the Android Market which allows users to choose the duration of time for which the reminder must be snoozed, and even recommended it in one of my blog posts.

When I noticed that Google had neglected to include the feature in their much hyped Android 2.2 (Froyo) as well, I couldn't understand why Google chose to ignore such basic functionality.

However, in all my eagerness to lambast Google at their oversight, I seem to have neglected one design feature of the Google Calendar, which renders the snooze option redundant.

Unlike Microsoft Outlook — or, for that matter, any of the other Microsoft products — Google Calendar allows users to setup multiple reminders, or notifications as Google chooses to call them, for each appointment.

Hence if a user wanted an advance alert of an upcoming appointment and then another alert closer to the start of the appointment, the user could choose to setup two notifications: say a half hour prior to the start of the appointment and another five minutes prior to the start of the appointment.

I personally set up a pattern of three notifications for each of my appointments: 30 minutes, 15 minutes and 5 minutes prior to the start of my appointments. This approach pretty much serves the purpose of snoozing the same reminder multiple times. The variable snooze option, which I so heavily utilized in Microsoft Outlook and Windows Mobile, is rendered unnecessary.

Reminders at Calendar level
Multiple Notifications setup at a Calendar level

The notification setting can be tweaked at a Calendar level or for each individual appointment. Hence, if there is a generic pattern of reminders that any user likes, he/she could setup that pattern at the calendar level and all new appointments would follow that pattern of notifications. And the user still has the flexibility to setup a different pattern of notifications for any specific appointment as may be necessary.

Reminders at Meeting level
Multiple Notifications setup at an Appointment level

Since the calendar on Android is just an extension of the Google Calendar into the Mobile realm, this design feature is very much applicable to Android as well.

It’s a paradigm shift, that’s what it is. Most of us who have moved to Android from the Microsoft world generally don't think of setting multiple reminders on our Appointments — we just set one reminder and then keep snoozing it till our appointment is actually due. That is what we have become accustomed to thanks to Microsoft’s design.

With Google we will have to start thinking differently: setup as many reminders as you want on each of your Calendars or appointments. Then, as each notification pops-up to remind you of the upcoming meeting, just dismiss it and rest assured that the second/third notification you setup for that meeting will still come up to remind you again.

Forget snooze, you don’t need it with Google Calendar. And that goes for Android too.