The University of Minnesota controls which of the zillions of features in the Google Apps suite are made available to the U of M community. They started out quite conservatively, and have been gradually adding features over time. (So definitely let folks know if there are features you’d like to see turned on for us!)
Some of these changes are “big”, like the fact that we now can use Google Reader (a very nice RSS reader – I definitely recommend it). Others are more subtle. One of these hard-to-spot changes that happened in the last few weeks is the addition of some new visibility options in Google Calendar. When they first set things up, you could share a calendar, but you couldn’t share any of the details outside of UMM. So local folks could see the details (if you wanted them to), but everyone else (even people on the TC campus) saw everything marked as “Busy”. Recently they quietly changed things so you can open up your calendars to be fully visible if you are so inclined.
Whee! I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and it’s nice that it’s finally happened. Now I can embed my calendar in places like my university web page and folks can see more than lots of little blue blocks marked “busy”. I’ll have to be a little more careful to mark certain events as private, but it’s definitely worth it.