3 Meeting Locations

Google recently made an update to their location field inside their Calendar product and launched it under the following description:
“Creating events in Google Calendar is now faster with autocomplete predictions from Google Maps. Calendar will autocomplete addresses as you type so you can quickly and accurately add locations to your events.”
I applaud the effort and it seems obvious for them to use their maps data in conjunction with the location field. However, if you think about it, an autocomplete feature is really only the easier latter part of the question of where to conduct a meeting. One could think of it as the following two tasks:

  • Location decision
  • Location input

Where an autocomplete feature helps input the proper map-searchable address once an in-person meeting and the associated location was decided upon. Choosing the actual location is hard for many reasons, but if we forget about the potential social dynamics and accompanying negotiation tactics embedded in this decision, we could choose to group the location decision into the following three buckets:

  • Host location
  • Guest location
  • Elsewhere

It would be fair to assume that a large amount of meetings are arranged at the known location of either the host or the guest. If we believe the former statement, we are left with a smaller set of meetings which have to be scheduled elsewhere. Elsewhere sounds like an infinite amount of locations, but I’ve found that it really ends up being a well-defined list of places one use for certain occasions. Nothing more sophisticated than a lookup table if you will.
I read a post by Charles Hudson a while ago, in which he had a wonderful picture of this very finite amount of places you end up designating as your defaults.
The operative word is finite – which suggests, a limited set of prioritized recommendations for where to conduct an upcoming meeting, is what you need to make a “Location decision”.