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Google's new Calendar feature wants to help you achieve your goals

'Goals' hunts down free time and schedules it with leisure time activities, from working out to 'me time,' to make after-work pursuits a priority. 

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    The tech giant Google has just announced its latest Calendar app, Goals, which aims to help users set and stick to life goals.
    Paul Sakuma/AP
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Having difficulties setting aside time for self-betterment activities? Google Calendar's new feature is about to make scheduling such easier.

The feature, called Goals, is designed to make life easier for people whose busy schedules prevent them from setting aside time for activities such as learning a new language, exercising, and even reminders to spend time with your family.

The calendar presents you with a menu of options to choose from, including "exercise," "me time," and "skill building," although users can also customize their own. The software then asks more specific questions, such as how often users want to exercise, for how long, and what times they prefer.

It then hunts for empty spots in your calendar and fills them up with the goals of your choice. Should a work commitment come up in one of your goal slots, Google Calendar will reschedule the new activity to a more convenient time.

With Siri directing traffic and Facebook managing billions of social networks, does Goals mean that app users are taking one more step toward surrendering their autonomy to machines? Don't overthink it. Developers say that it simply presents the best option for people whose busy schedules won't allow them to have much leisure time or time for activities outside work.

"It's a tool to help us against ourselves, and all the short-term things we agree to do in our calendar," Google employee Dan Ariely, told The New York Times. "Empty time where you think you'll do something loses precedence to things on the calendar that are concrete and specific," said Dr. Ariely, who is also a professor of psychology and economics at Duke University in Durham, N.C. 

The feature is designed to get better with time, says the company. Each time a user completes, defers, or edits a goal they are essentially providing more data to the app, enabling it become better at learning user behavior, which improves the calendar's abilities to choose proper times for future goals.

The feature is available now in Google Calendar on iOS and Android.

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