ScheduleOnce Meeting Manager Gets Google-ized

Last year, Darryl reviewed ScheduleOnce, a meeting coordination app with Google integration, and pointed out a few of its quirks, such as it requiring too many refreshes and re-authorizations to get it to work. Fast forward to today and an updated ScheduleOnce has worked out the kinks. It now boasts a number of new features that combine easy meeting scheduling with Google integration.

ScheduleOnce integrates with your Google Calendar to create a more seamless way to discover availabilities and block out time for the actual meeting. It now also has a Google Calendar gadget that sits to the right of your calendar and gives you a view of pending and scheduled meetings. You can click directly to your ScheduleOnce dashboard from the gadget.

It also now has a Gmail gadget for easy access to the ScheduleOnce scheduling tool. And there is also a gadget that integrates into Google Apps as the company was one of 50 companies signed up for the original beta of the Google Marketplace. (Note that if you are integrating ScheduleOnce into Google Apps, you will need to take additional steps to add gadgets to your calendar and Gmail.)

ScheduleOnce’s goal is to raise the probability of identifying and booking a meeting time that works for everyone who should be at the meeting.

Time Zones Are Critical

If you read my post about my recent scheduling fiasco at SXSW, you’ll know that I need effective tools to help me with scheduling. Time zone differences and confusion caused me miss appointments (ironically, one of them was a demo with ScheduleOnce). ScheduleOnce has several features for dealing with time zone confusion:

  1. It auto-detects your time zone based on your IP and prompts you to change it if you are traveling (you can refuse);
  2. It lets you manually switch your time zone to override auto-detection (which would have helped me while scheduling interviews in Austin while I was still in Alaska and the reps I was meeting with were from around the world).
  3. Daylight Saving Time is taken into account

ScheduleOnce, however, would not have been an ideal product to use to schedule my appointments with different individuals at SXSW. It is designed to schedule a single meeting with multiple parties.

Not Like Doodle

The basic functionality of ScheduleOnce feels a bit like Doodle. However, Doodle is a schedule engine based on discrete time suggestions, offering you just a series of checkboxes to determine times. The ScheduleOnce engine is based on greater availability areas, and you can select calendar areas in 15 minute increments, which offers a better utilization of attendee availability. At the end of the day, the better scheduling apps are the ones that have a higher chance of identifying the best meeting time the first time you send out a notice, right?

What About Recurring Meetings?

According to the company, there is no demand from users for a recurring meeting function. The tool is being used for discrete meetings and calls involving a number of people with diverse schedules who are potentially in different locations.

I may try out ScheduleOnce for certain occasions, just like I reach for Doodle at times (I use Doodle when I’m needing to schedule multiple parties on a single call or meeting and some of them are less technically inclined). I still am looking at other meeting schedulers, but at the moment I’m sticking with TimeBridge because of its a more complete scheduling solution.

What meeting scheduler do you use and how’s it working for you?

Image by stock.xchng user jan-willem

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise

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