(Bloomberg Business) — If you’re anything like me, scheduling a simple meeting with a colleague can easily stretch out into a messy, multistep process: After the opening gambit (“Hey editor: We really should catch up in person!”) can come days of back and forth as you and your meeting partner propose and reject dates and times. I’m pretty sure I spend more time scheduling coffee meetings than actually having them.
Avoiding this torturous process is half the reason many many people have personal assistants. For those without the cash for a full-time sidekick, a flood of sites and apps have attempted to take on the problem. Calendly, Assistant.to, and Pick, to name just a few, all take a stab at streamlining meeting arrangements.
The newest to hit the market, and most interesting, is Meet, which was launched in May. Meet is a new feature of the popular, Microsoft-acquired Sunrise calendar app and site. Meet is free for iOS, Android, and Web, and it’s remarkably effective at quickly scheduling meetings within a single e-mail or text message.
How Meet works: As you tap out an e-mail or text message on your phone, the tool brings up a split-screen view of your calendar, allowing you to quickly select any time blocks that work for your rendezvous. When you send the message, a custom URL allows the recipient to choose from the list of times. Other than a quick confirmation alert, that’s as far as the back and forth needs to go. It works this way with any e-mail or messaging app, so you can just as easily schedule meetings in Gmail as in WhatsApp.
“When we did our research in the beginning, we found it usually took people at least five e-mails to schedule an appointment,” says Sunrise co-founder and head of design Jeremy Le Van. “We want to make things happen between people quickly, so they can be more productive and spend more time doing things they enjoy.”