Last week I had the opportunity to chat with the folks over at Tungle, a Web 2.0 start-up attacking the problem of scheduling meetings with people outside of your organization. Today, the typical solution is a whole lot of e-mailing back and forth. With Tungle, the process is somewhat automated, saving a great deal of time and effort.
Tungle works via an Outlook plug-in which grabs your free/busy information from your calendar (support for other applications is on the roadmap). Tungle users can schedule meetings via one of two ways:
- by inviting other Tungle users who have agreed to be on their Tungle "buddy list" . Tungle users can use their existing Outlook client's ability to search for available times and schedule a meeting through the same method they use with people inside their company
- by inviting non-Tungle via a link to a dynamic web-page that shows the Tungle user's available times. The non-Tungle user simply selects a time that works for them, and then Tungle generates meeting invites to all parties.
There are a few quirks, Tungle is client-based rather than server-based, so the potential for conflict exists if someone with calendar administrator rights schedules a meeting for a user while that user is disconnected, and at the same time the user has scheduled his or her own meeting. Still, Tungle strikes me as the most useful Web 2.0 app I've seen since Grandcentral. Now I just have to wait patiently until they have a Notes 8 plug-in.