TimeBridge fixes group scheduling
TimeBridge's upcoming Outlook plug-in aims to fix the meeting morass.
From the Web 2.0 Conference:
Most of us waste a lot of time trying to find times for meetings. Inside a company, Microsoft Outlook users (on Exchange servers) can see the times their coworkers are free and busy. It's a good start, but when we want to schedule a meeting with multiple people or meet with people outside our company, everything can quickly fall apart. TimeBridge is trying to solve this problem, with a system that handles the negotiation of finding meeting times.
Like the ultrasimple Doodle, TimeBridge lets you set up multiple options for a meeting, and it lets attendees select the times that work best for them. But TimeBridge also lets you do more complex setup. For example, if you have two meetings to set up with several people in each and four slots that could potentially work for you, TimeBridge will send out, on your behalf, the available times that make sense, and it will update available times for everybody as people respond (via a Web form). It also integrates into Outlook and automatically promotes meeting times from "tentative" to "confirmed" as people sign up. Like Plaxo, which updates contact books, a lot of the negotiation happens behind the scenes if the parties on both ends use the product.
One of the really cool things about TimeBridge is that you can offer the same tentative meeting slots to different people and different meetings, and TimeBridge will keep everybody up to date and broker the times to make sure you don't double-book.
The service also lets meeting organizers set up a shared work space for meetings: a place where attendees can store notes and talk about the meeting agenda. I think that's a superfluous feature (that's what e-mail is good for), but the rest of the technology is just what we need. I can't wait to try it out.
There will be a free version, and the company is also considering paid and enterprise programs. The bad news: It's in private beta now and won't be generally available until 2007.