Briefing with Tungle, April 17

Just finished up a call with Marc Gingras, the CEO of free/busy aggregator new entrant Tungle (see my March 27 Daily Report for earlier coverage). Tungle isn’t a new calendaring client per se, but rather a way of sharing free/busy information within groups and definitely across organizational boundaries.

Marc shared a couple of additional data points on Tungle and their view of the market:

  • Cross-Organizational Calendaring … Setting up meetings with people outside of your organization is a big challenge. In a research study they did for internal purposes, they found that 60% of meetings are scheduled with people outside of the office. With email today, it really is a shot in the dark (ie, “are you available at … 10am on … Tuesday???”)
  • More Calendar Support Coming … The beta version works with Outlook 2003, but by the end of May 2007 Tungle will support all versions of Outlook, with Google Calendar coming in June/July.
  • Mac Version Coming … A Mac version of the Tungle client will be available in Fall (September-November 2007). Cool.
  • Diversity in Practice … The diversity of calendaring practice between people makes it very difficult to develop an appropriate solution. Some people track tentative meetings; others don’t. Some people note personal appointments; others don’t. Some people use Outlook; many don’t. Finding the appropriate common denominator is a challenge, which is why Tungle has decided to focus on sharing free/busy.
  • Tungle Client = Permissions … The Tungle client is really a permissions client or a control panel for free/busy sharing, rather than a calendaring client. It provides functions for specifying who you will share you calendar entries or free/busy time with, but meeting invites and all of that negotiation are actually done in your calendaring client of choice, eg, Outlook or other. The Tungle client can display free/busy time from a list of selected people, but when you go to invite them to a meeting, it’s the Outlook calendar invite form that you fill out, not a Tungle one. In addition, once calendar sharing is set up, you can use Outlook as you do today, set up a meeting, invite people to it, and Outlook will read their free/busy time from the Tungle client … thus making Tungle essentially invisible in the moment-by-moment meeting negotiations. I like the theory of what they’ve done.
  • Peer-to-Peer … The peer-to-peer design of Tungle ensures privacy and security over your calendaring data. Because Tungle isn’t client-server, your meeting events aren’t stored on a central server anywhere.

I’m looking forward to receiving my invite to the beta program. I will have to use my PC for that, however, which I’m sure will make a certain person grin.