We can all agree that endless emailing back and forth to find an appointment time that works for everyone is the worst, right? Google Calendar and Calendly are two tools you can use to book and manage appointments. But, when it comes to Calendly vs Google Calendar, is one better than the other?
While they are similar tools, Calendly and Google Calendar have some key differences that you should understand to help you decide which one may be better for your needs and goals.
Below, we will give you an overview of the two platforms, as well as compare them in the categories of features, ease of use, integrations/compatibility with other tools, customer service, and pricing — with a winner chosen in each category.
Calendly vs Google Calendar: What Are They For?
Calendly and Google Calendar are both apps that you can use to help manage your schedule in different ways.
Google Calendar is a personal and professional calendar app, while Calendly is a scheduling app designed to help eliminate back-and-forth when trying to find a meeting time that works for you and others.
Calendly vs Google Calendar: Overview
Overview of Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a cloud-based calendar service that anyone with a Gmail account has access to for free. It integrates seamlessly with Google’s other professional platforms, including Google Meet and Gmail. It also has integrations with countless other third-party tools, including WordPress booking plugins like WEBBA booking.
Until recently, Google Calendar did not have any feature that let you book appointments directly through the platform without manually adding them. However, Google recently added the Appointment Schedule feature, which comes with paid Google Workspace subscriptions.
Google Calendar pros:
- Free for anyone with a Gmail account
- Seamlessly integrates with Google’s other tools
- Has integrations with tons of third-party tools
Google Calendar cons:
- Fairly basic calendar functionality
- Need to use third-party tools to get more out of it
- Appointment Schedule feature is not free
Overview of Calendly
Calendly isn’t really a Google Calendar alternative, but rather a third-party tool that you can integrate with your Google Calendar, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendars to make booking appointments fast and easy.
Calendly syncs with any combination of the above calendars and provides you with a unique link that you can share with anyone. When someone clicks on the link, they’re shown your available appointment times and can select a time slot to book — with no emailing back and forth.
Calendly also offers a WordPress calendar plugin that you can embed on any WordPress site, allowing visitors to book appointments. Calendly has various pricing plans, from free to enterprise.
- Integrates with Google Calendar, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendars
- Allows appointment scheduling with a couple mouse clicks
- Can be embedded on WordPress websites
- Is not a standalone tool
- Need at least one other calendar app for it to work
Google Calendar features
Google Calendar has all the basic scheduling functionality you need in a calendar. It lets you easily add, edit, or remove appointments to your calendar, as well as integrates tightly with Gmail and Google Meet.
You can add meeting links to appointments on Google Calendar for virtual or hybrid meetings, so everyone who’s attending can quickly find them. You can also create multiple calendars and shared calendars, which is ideal for managing and collaborating with different teams.
As we mentioned above, paid subscribers to Google Workspace also get access to Google Calendar’s new Appointment Schedule feature, which offers Calendly-like appointment booking functionality.
Unlike Google Calendar, Calendly is not a standalone calendar app. In fact, you cannot use Calendly unless you also use Google Calendar or one of the other calendar platforms it integrates with.
The main feature of Calendly is that it allows anyone with your unique Calendly link or who visits your website with an embedded Calendly plugin can book an open appointment slot on your calendar in a couple of clicks.
Google Calendar vs Calendly winner in features: Tie
There is no clear winner in this category because the tools are not mutually exclusive. Google Calendar is a calendar app, while Calendly is a scheduling app for Google Calendar (and other popular calendar apps).
Does Google have a scheduling tool? Yes, but it’s a paid feature and essentially just a copy of Calendly. Calendly’s free appointment booking offering is more powerful than Google’s version, but you need to sync it with your existing calendar to make use of it. Because of this we’re calling it a tie in the features category.
Ease of use
Google Calendar ease of use
Anyone familiar with Google’s suite of tools, and even those who aren’t, will find Google Calendar incredibly intuitive and easy to use. There’s really not much to it — you just click on a time slot in your calendar to make an appointment at that time and fill in as many or as few details as you like.
Calendly ease of use
One of Calendly’s biggest selling points since it was launched is its ease of use. Signing up and integrating the tool with your calendar is fast and easy, and the user interface is simple and clean. Even embedding Calendly on a WordPress site is as simple as copying and pasting a chunk of HTML into the site’s code.
Google Calendar vs Calendly winner in ease of use: Google Calendar
Although both Google Calendar and Calendly are very easy to use, we’re going to give this category to Google Calendar, for the simple reason that you don’t need to do anything other than open a Gmail account to start using it. There are a few more steps to getting started with Calendly.
Integrations & compatibility with other tools
Google Calendar integrations & compatibility with other tools
Like all of Google’s tools, Google Calendar has one of the highest numbers of integrations of any app out there. You already know it integrates with Calendly, but it also connects with many other Calendly alternatives that are out there.
Besides integrations with scheduling plugins, Google Calendar also meshes with a plethora of other productivity apps and time management tools. From communication platforms like Slack and Zoom, to project management software like Asana and Trello, there are just too many Google Calendar integrations to even try and mention them all.
Calendly integrations & compatibility with other tools
Apart from Calendly’s core integrations with Google Calendar, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendars, and its compatibility with WordPress sites, the 9-year-old app also has a wide range of other integrations. In fact, it’s compatible with many of the same professional platforms as Google Calendar, including Zoom and Slack.
Calendly also has integrations with major CRMs, such as HubSpot, Zapier, and Salesforce, as well as payment platforms, like PayPal and Stripe. These are just a few of the many tools that Calendly is compatible with.
Google Calendar vs Calendly winner in integrations & compatibility with other tools: Google Calendar
This is another close call, but Google Calendar wins in this category because of its sheer number of integrations and compatibility. Plus, since Calendly doesn’t work without syncing it to Google Calendar (or another calendar app) first, any Calendly integration could theoretically be considered a Google Calendar integration as well.
Google Calendar customer service
In terms of customer support, Google Calendar only offers an online help center. There is no live chat, email, or phone support for Google Calendar.
Calendly customer service
Calendly offers an online help center, video tutorials, and email support.
Google Calendar vs Calendly winner in customer service: Calendly
Calendly wins in the customer service category because it offers more options for support.
Google Calendar pricing
Google Calendar comes for free with any free Gmail account, and paid subscriptions for Google Workspace with access to additional features, including the new Appointment Schedule feature, start at $10/month for an individual subscription.
Calendly is free for the basic version, and pricing for the paid versions starts at $8/month for each user.
Google Calendar vs Calendly winner in pricing: Calendly
Calendly wins in the pricing category because the free version offers more powerful appointment booking functionality than Google Calendar.
Calendly vs Google Calendar: Which One Should You Choose?
When should I choose Calendly?
Calendly is ideal when you want a scheduling app for Google Calendar, or for your Outlook, Office 365, or iCloud calendar.
These basic calendar apps don’t give you unique appointment scheduling links or let you embed booking calendars on your website, but Calendly provides you with that extra functionality.
Whether you need Calendly for scheduling one-off appointments, or you want to use it to manage larger numbers of professional bookings, there should be a version that suits your needs and budget.
When should I choose Google Calendar?
If you already have a Gmail account and use Google’s other professional tools, Google Calendar is the natural choice for managing your personal and professional calendars.
Since so many other people use Google Workspace, collaborating with others who use Google Calendar is super convenient and easy.
Keep in mind that, if you want to automatically book appointments on Google Calendar, you’ll need access to the Appointment Scheduling feature via a paid subscription, or you can use Calendly or another free third-party booking plugin.
There’s really no clear answer to the question of which is better: Google Calendar or Calendly?
Calendly cannot replace Google Calendar, and Google Calendar doesn’t offer the same powerful appointment scheduling functionality of Calendly. For many people, using both tools might make the most sense.
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