Earlier this week I blogged about Outlook 2007's new 'Send a Calendar via Email' feature. An even more powerful calendar feature allows you to Publish your Calendar to the Microsoft Office Online Beta* service. After you first use this feature Outlook 2007 will upload as much (or as little) of your calendar as you wish so that it can be viewed by others. You decide who can see your calendar and can use the same calendar disclosure options so you only reveal the information that you are prepared to share:
It's also up to you to decide the date range that you wish to publish. Better still, anyone else using a compatible email client like Outlook 2007 can open your calendar directly into their client to compare alongside their own. Those without a compatible client can view published calendars online with their web browser.
I was about to write up the procedure for publishing your calendar in Outlook 2007 when I found this site (you must register as a Beta tester to access this) with comprehensive details. There are even some sample unrestricted calendars (i.e. that anyone can access) for things like the PGA European Tour 2006 and Famous People's Birthdays at this location (also only for Beta testers).
How could you use this? This is great for groups of friends who want to organise a party or day out. As long as everyone's calendars are up to date you can instantly see who's available when. Or you could use this between businesses to reduce the risk of requesting a meeting at a time that is inconvenient for any of the invited participants. Or just share your work calendar with your spouse so they know what time you'll be home for dinner. Useful stuff indeed!
* Note that this service and Outlook 2007 are in Beta state at this time so the functionality is not yet finalised and some features are not yet completed.