Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
Any.do entered the smart calendar market last July, as it launched its impressive Cal app out of beta.
While it was initially an iOS-only affair, this was remedied in December when it arrived for Android too. And today, the startup is rolling out a brand new feature for Cal, as it looks to focus on improving productivity around meetings.
The new feature is rolling out for Android first, but will be arriving “soon” for iOS users too – though no timescale has been given for this.
Under ‘Settings’, you’ll now see an additional feature called ‘HeadsUp’ which Any.do is hoping will pull the various strands of a meeting together – this includes before it starts, while it’s in progress, and what happens once the meeting has ended.
A little tab pops up on your device screen as a meeting approaches – when you tap this, it surfaces the range of so-called ‘smart’ actions.
In terms of how it can help before a meeting has kicked off, well, it can let you navigate your way to the venue via Google Maps, as well as informing other participants if you’re running late. Additionally, it lets you beckon a taxi to get you to the destination on time, or simply view the other invitees.
It’s worth noting here that these tabs are merely shortcuts to other actions – none of this is automated by Cal. ‘I’m Late’, for example, gives you the option to type out an email or make a Skype call. ‘Get Taxi’, on the other hand, lets you beckon a car via the Uber app.
During a meeting, on the other hand, Cal will also make it easier to mute your phone, add tasks that emerge as a result of the discussions (they can be added to the Any.do app), snap photos (e.g. of a flip-chart or PowerPoint presentation), and even record video/audio. Finally, you can also elect to send a summary email to the group.
Once a meeting has concluded, Cal also lets you add or send action items to other attendees, schedule follow-up meetings and send a summary email if you didn’t do so during the event.
Ultimately, the new HeadsUp feature is all about bringing the existing features of your phone – and the Any.do/Cal apps – to the forefront. It’s designed to stop you having to open and close various applications.
It would be nice to see a little more automation on this front though. For example, the ‘I’m Late’ feature could use GPS to determine your current location and establish that you’re running late for a meeting. While you may not want it to send a message without your go-ahead, it could still ask you and then send a pre-written message automatically.
Similarly, having only a single option for ‘Get Taxi’ feels a little sparse. Given that all it’s really doing is opening up a list of apps on your device, it could also give you the choice of ‘Hailo’, ‘Kabbee’ or whatever other service is used in your locale.
You can grab the updated Cal app from Google Play now.
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