When I met with Tungle CEO Marc Gringas this past January, he outlined the type of technology that would address the major pain points of scheduling meetings: it would reduce the number of transactions needed to pick a time, it would be simple to use across time zones, it would be an open system for anyone to use, and people would be able to see each others’ schedules with it.
Tungle does a good job fulfilling most of these principles. It comes as an Outlook plugin that automatically loads all of your contacts and calendar events (either from Outlook itself or other calendar apps like Google Calendar). You can choose to share your schedule with others who also have the plugin installed, and you can invite others to a meeting whether or not they even use Outlook.
The invitation system is key. Tungle users can invite non-Tungle users by sending them a link to a special coordination page. This “Tungle Space” page shows your availability and solicits their input for when they are also available. If your schedule changes after sending out the invitation, the Tungle Space page will update itself accordingly. And you can use it to invite multiple people to the same meeting. As people visit the page and indicate when they are available, the options get narrowed down until the last invitee to respond chooses a time.
There are many similarities between Tungle and TimeBridge (see our review of the latter here) but Gringas stresses that TimeBridge has more of a “wish list” approach to it, where organizers suggest a set of times and these get either accepted or rejected by invitees. But while Tungle may be more about finding the overlapping free time in participants’ schedules, it lacks the freedom of TimeBridge, which can be used entirely through the browser.
When it comes down to it, this type of product will mostly appeal to a certain class of professionals that needs to schedule group meetings all the time. Many of us only schedule one-on-one meetings that take at most a few emails to pin down, and we won’t be bothered to change our habits. But I imagine there are many assistants and managers out there who will find this very helpful and worth the effort of picking it up.