Zoho’s suite of productivity apps is undoubtedly comprehensive, with over 20 different products available to users. Apps include Zoho Mail, CRM, Projects, Planner, Meeting, and more. But a calendering app is an important layer that can sit on top of and unify all these applications. Zoho Calendar, which was launched into beta last year, is exiting beta today with a host of new features and functionality.
One of the primary additions to Zoho Calendar is the ability to now privately share your calendars with other users with a Zoho account. You can share your calendar in a read-only mode so that users can view only Free/Busy times or all of your events and meetings. Read-write mode allows other users to edit your existing events or event create and edit events on your calendar. Similar to Google Calendar, you share your calendar with other users by adding their email address to the account and then setting preferences.
While Zoho Calendar allows you to import events by file or URL, you can now also “subscribe” to another calendar, which will update your calendar regularly. You can subscribe to ‘internal’ calendars (calendars from Zoho applications) or subscribe to any other calendar in ICAL format by providing the URL, which will update your events a couple of times a day. You can also subscribe to your friends’ public calendars using their email addresses.
If you want to make your calendar completely public, Zoho is now allowing you to embed your calendar on an external site. Other new features include an event based view (vs. calendar/date view), the ability to clear a calendar and more.
Of course, Zoho Calendar faces formidable competition from Google Calendar, as well as Microsoft Outlook and iCal. But for Zoho’s 2 million plus users, a unified calendering application across all of the suite’s applications will certainly see heavy use.
This year, Zoho has added a number of updates to its applications, including an upgrade to Zoho Wiki, unified search across applications, integration with Facebook Connect and the addition of an app in the newly launched Google App Marketplace.
This type of growth is impressive from a startup that competes with tech giants like Google and Microsoft and has never received outside funding. So is there any possibility of an exit through an acquisition? Zoho’s Raju Vegesna tells me that the startup has no intention of selling right now.