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Third-party conferencing overview

When creating or editing a Google Calendar event, users have the option to quickly create a Google Hangout conference and associate it with the event. Once added, event attendees can easily join the associated Hangout with a simple click.

However, if a user wants to use a third-party conference (such as WebEx) instead of Google Hangouts, the process is more complex. Typically this requires the user to create the conference outside of Google Calendar and then copy a conference code into the Calendar event description. Event attendees then must follow a specific set of steps to enter the conference using the code provided.

Google Workspace add-ons can help users avoid this complexity. You can build a Google Workspace add-on that extends Google Calendar with third-party conference solutions. Each added conference solution adds a new conferencing option for Calendar events, allowing users to create and join those conferences directly from Google Calendar.

If you are a conference provider, you can create a Google Workspace add-on to define a connection between Google Calendar and your product. You can then publish the add-on in the Google Workspace Marketplace, where users and administrators can discover and install it.

Conference solutions

A conference solution represents a type of third-party conference that users can join. Each solution is shown as a conferencing option a user can choose when creating or editing a Google Calendar event.

Examples of conference solutions an add-on might define include the following:

  • a standard video conference
  • an audio-only conference
  • a personal conference
  • a publicly streamed conference

Any type of conference that the third-party service provides can have an associated solution, and collections of solutions can be bundled together in a single Google Workspace add-on.

How conference solutions work

When a conference solution is added to a Google Workspace add-on, there is no need to provide a detailed UI for it. Instead, whenever a user creates or edits a Google Calendar event, any solutions defined in the Google Workspace add-ons the user has installed appear as conferencing options.

When a user selects a conference solution, the add-on connects to the third-party conferencing system using its API and creates the conference, syncing data between the conference and the Google Calendar event. If the event is later updated or deleted, the add-on detects this and makes the corresponding updates on the conferencing system. Once a conference is attached to an event, attendees can join the conference from Google Calendar.

Optionally, the add-on can provide a settings page to allow users to control specific conferencing behavior.

Conference data

Google Workspace add-ons that provide conference solutions to Google Calendar require specific information—conference data—in order to let users join third-party conferences. When you define a conference solution in your add-on, you specify an onCreateFunction that builds and returns a ConferenceData object. The ConferenceData object must contain either all the conference data Google Calendar needs, or a ConferenceError object that describes an error that occurred when communicating with the third-party conferencing system.

The table below describes each type of conference data your add-on can use and lists the ConferenceData service object that represents it. Each ConferenceData object your add-on uses must have all elements marked as Required:

Component Type Description
Conference errors ConferenceError Required if an error occurred, in which case no other data is needed. Use this to report a problem that happened when the add-on tried to connect to the conferencing system.
Conference ID string Required if not an error.
Use this ID to identify the conference within the third-party conferencing system.
Conference parameters ConferenceParameter[] Use these key-value pairs to pass any system-specific information to and from the third-party conferencing system. For example, the system may require the email of the conference moderator, or a meeting key.
Conference notes string Use this to append a text notice to the conference. Typically you use these to add instructions for conference administrators or legal notices.
Entry points EntryPoint[] Required if not an error, in which case at least one EntryPoint must be defined.
Use EntryPoints to describe a specific way to join the conference (for example, by phone, video, or SIP). Each entry point requires a URI and an EntryPointType.

Further reading

The following documentation can help you learn more: