Google accused of stomping on rivals because it stamps out annoying Calendar spam

Google just lately modified the default setting for including invites to its Calendar service in a method that interferes with third-party merchandise. The Large G mentioned it is simply attempting to dam spam whereas some within the trade are calling foul.

Earlier this week, Mike Adams, CEO of Grain, an organizational service for managing buyer relationships, complained openly concerning the change. He accused Google of attempting to kill third-party appointment reserving providers like Calendly in favor of Google Calendar, a part of the online big’s Workspace portfolio.

Google final March expanded appointment scheduling to a broader set of Workspace editions and just lately has been attempting to monetize the service so as to add shareholder worth.

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In July, the advert big introduced the addition of “an choice to show occasions in your calendar provided that they arrive from a sender you understand.” The Chocolate Manufacturing facility’s rationale was to supply a method to cut back invitation spam, a persistent concern amongst these utilizing Calendar or any service that helps permissionless interplay.


On the time, according to Adams, the default setting was to indicate invites from everybody. However just lately that was modified to including invites “provided that the sender is understood.”

Google, mentioned Adams, just lately revised most customers’ default setting to not present third-party invites in Calendar until the booker beforehand emailed the host, or explicitly accepted the invitation in e mail.

The setting change was launched in November 2022 as an opt-in however Google started step by step rolling out the default change in January so as to monitor for suggestions.

Suggestions surfaced in February when some customers reported seeing a notification in Calendar, and within the months that adopted as reports of missed bookings got here to mild.

Their timing is suspicious and their explanations do not maintain water

This small reconfiguration has thrown a wrench into providers based mostly on permissionless appointment reserving and provides extra friction to enterprise communication, Adams contends.

“And naturally this ‘spam prevention’ measure does not apply to conferences booked by means of their very own new aggressive software program, which naturally does not assist any video conferences choices however Meet,” he mentioned.

Requested about whether or not it is right that these modifications don’t have an effect on Google appointment scheduling, a spokesperson for the Large G mentioned it is not. We’re advised that the spam safety applies to unknown senders no matter service. So a Calendar invitation from an unknown private Gmail account wouldn’t seem robotically.

Reached by telephone, Adams mentioned Grain makes use of Calendly internally and encountered issues with invites after the setting change. However when he tried the identical factor in Google’s appointment scheduling system, it labored correctly. He mentioned he does not consider Google is being forthright concerning the state of affairs

“My objective is to encourage Google to be respectable and repair it,” he advised El Reg. “We now have higher issues to do than take care of anticompetitive nonsense. Their timing is suspicious and their explanations do not maintain water.”

A part of the problem could also be that inside a company, all Office e mail addresses must be identified, so any intra-company invites would work for Google appointment scheduling. That is not essentially the case for third-party service suppliers that do not have as a lot entry to Gmail id knowledge.

Google’s appointment scheduling solely helps invites from customers, and never from generic or no-reply addresses, which is not the case for a lot of third-party providers.

The brand new default, mentioned Adams, is inflicting main issues for Grain, the place customers e-book time after which miss appointments as a result of the occasion by no means confirmed up of their calendar.

“These strikes are so blatantly anti-competitive and anti-consumer … all beneath the guise of ‘spam prevention’ … which they may simply handle for Google accounts utilizing third-party reserving software program,” he mentioned.


On Thursday, Calendly, a third-party appointment reserving service, revealed a assist heart message about Google Calendar’s new default. It advises clients concerning the setting’s modifications and the best way to alter them.

In a press release emailed to The Register, Calendly CEO and founder Tope Awotona mentioned, “We’re conscious of the latest modifications Google made to its customers’ default calendar settings to cut back spam and undesirable invitations. We’re working intently with our clients and companions to grasp and mitigate the influence by means of product enhancements and schooling and can proceed to supply updates as we evolve the platform.”

Awotona expressed confidence that Calendly will be capable of present secure and safe scheduling automation.

We’re dedicated to following greatest practices for protecting customers secure, and likewise assist interoperability and consumer alternative for all apps

Adams argued that Google ought to have simply left the default because it was and allowed folks beset by spam to alter their setting as wanted.

A Google spokesperson advised The Register, “To scale back the danger our customers face from undesirable calendar spam, we launched a default in Calendar to safeguard customers from unknown senders. These efforts have already posted sturdy outcomes, dramatically reducing again malicious calendar invitations. We’re dedicated to following greatest practices for protecting customers secure, and likewise assist interoperability and consumer alternative for all apps.”

That dedication, we’re advised, entails additional changes to consumer controls and the expectation is that these tweaks will deal with at the least a number of the issues raised by third-parties.

Google is taking a look at methods to enhance belief alerts when an invite arrives from a generic or no-reply deal with in a method that doesn’t dilute spam safety. This might take the type of a warning banner when clients have obtained an invite from a generic/no-reply deal with, although that is not determined but. ®