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Appointment Slot Alternatives

posted Dec 31, 2012, 11:56 AM by Eric Curts   [ updated Dec 31, 2012, 11:58 AM ]
Back in mid-December, Google announced that they would be discontinuing several services and features including Appointment Slots for Google Calendar (link). According to the post, users would no longer be able to create new Appointment Slots as of January 4, 2013, although existing Appointment Slots would continue working for one year. Later Google extended the end date for the creation of slots to be January 30, 2013.

This came as unfortunate news to many user of Google Apps who had come to rely on Appointment Slots as an easy way to schedule office hours, reserve resources, and arrange conference meetings. In my school district we have been using Appointment Slots successfully for the past two years for our Parent Teacher Conference scheduling. (For more details see this article and this video.)

With Appointment Slots quickly coming to a close, many users are now looking for alternatives. Depending on why you were using Appointment Slots, your alternative may vary. In our case we have been using them for Parent Teacher Conference scheduling. So far the best option I have found for our need is YouCanBook.Me at http://youcanbook.me

Below is a list of benefits I have found for this particular service:
  • It is free. There is a paid option for premium features, but for what we need, the free version works fine.
  • It integrates with Google Calendar. This is excellent since I want to stay within the Google Apps ecosystem as much as possible. This also means we can continue to use the same conference calendars our teachers already created, rather than starting from scratch.
  • It integrates with Google Apps. By this I mean that I can install YouCanBook.Me for my entire Google Apps domain through the Google Apps Marketplace. This will place a link directly to the service in the “More” drop-down menu of the standard black Google services bar. The Marketplace listing can be found here: link
  • My teachers can easily create the time slots they are available for conferences.
  • Their appointment calendar site will get an easy to remember custom URL such as username.youcanbook.me
  • Their appointment calendar can be password protected so parents would need go through some form of authentication.
  • Teacher can add custom questions to the booking process to collect information such as the parents’ names, the parents’ email, the name of their student, and any questions or comments the parents would like to leave. This can provide helpful information prior to the meeting.
  • A custom email can be sent to you after a booking is made.
  • A custom email can be sent to the parents after a booking is made.
  • The parents do not need a special account to make book an appointment. They simply need the link to the teacher’s appointment site, and optionally a password is the teacher has set one.
All in all the service looks to be a perfect fit for anyone wanting to computerize the process of scheduling Parent Teacher Conferences. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is a better solution than what we were doing with Appointment Slots. It is free, still works with Google Calendar, but now the parents do not need Google accounts to access the service.

For additional information on using YouCanBook.Me for Parent Teacher Conference scheduling see this helpful site from Krista Moroder: link

Of course there are many other alternatives out there, and some may fit your needs better depending on what you were using Appointment Slots for. Below are links to several other services that may be worth investigating as alternatives to Appointment Slots (with thanks to Robin from Google for curating this list).
I hope to explore these other options, but unless I find something better, my plan will be to move our school over to YouCanBook.Me for our conference scheduling.

How about you? If you have experience with any of these or other services, please leave feedback in the comment section below. It will be very helpful to hear how others are adjusting to the end of Appointment Slots.