Setting up meetings via email isn’t always efficient. You tell someone your availability, and they respond with their own. After a back-and-forth, you finally decide on a time. But then you need to figure out a good location, and that takes a few more emails. Eventually, after multiple messages and many minutes, you finally create an event in your calendar.
FreeBusy wants to fix this process. The new tool combines calendars you use across different platforms — Google, Outlook, Yahoo, iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, etc. — to produce a unified availability view from all your calendars that lets others see when you’re free for a potential meeting.
For example, check out the FreeBusy page for Stefan Negritoiu, a developer who helped build FreeBusy. It shows merged data from all of the calendars that Negritoiu has connected and lets you see when he’s free. Users can look up Negritoiu’s page by using any of the email addresses he used to upload the different calendars.
FreeBusy was built by the folks at BizLogr, a Seattle startup that was founded by Negritoiu and former Microsoft general manager Charlie Kindel back in 2012. Kindel, who was CEO, stepped down from the company in April 2013 after he was hired by Amazon.com.
Negritoiu has ran the show since Kindel’s departure. He noted that FreeBusy uses the same calendar technology that supports MileLogr, a tool built by BizLogr that creates a detailed mileage report based on the location of meetings as noted in a user’s calendar.
Negritoiu added that FreeBusy differentiates itself from its competition because it supports all calendar systems — not just Google Calendar — and has an API that developers can use to bring availability data directly in their apps independent of a users’ calendar provider.
“We’ll showcase this API by putting out an Outlook and Gmail plugin — see when someone is available when you write them an email or send a calendar invite straight from those apps — and a mobile app integrated with contacts,” Negritoiu noted.
Negritoiu and his two other colleagues plan to make money from enterprises who wish to securely share employee availability with suppliers and partners; from smaller businesses who take paid bookings; and from professionals who need to generate time sheets. There are also several new features set to debut in the coming weeks, including group scheduling, inter-company secure calendar sharing and calendar syncing to avoid double booking.
MileLogr, meanwhile, is still operating and has an “enthusiastic following, Negritoiu said.