Get organized with these online calendars, schedules and planning sites
January 20, 1999
by Tom Spring
(IDG) -- You've never had fewer excuses to get organized online.
Three Internet-based calendar companies made their debut last week, crowding an already tight market for lookalike calendar services. Each is unique in its way, but they all offer essentially the same thing: A way for users to gather information about upcoming events in personal or business interests and to present them in a calendar format.
All are based on the premise that in a perfect world, we would all know each other's schedules.
Need to make an appointment with a co-worker? Try cruising over to Jump.com and synching your schedules. Curious what your son has planned next week? Try creating a family calendar at ScheduleOnline.com, which launched Wednesday. Need to break that lunch date? Next month, you'll be able to click over to AnyDay.com and simply update a shared calendar.
Online calendars generally gather information -- be it about trade shows, concerts, hockey games, or TV listings -- and present it in a personalized calendar accessible on the Web. The services are free. The vendors make money on advertising, sponsorships, selling the technology, and transaction fees.
For years, e-mail has been the most compelling application on the Net, but Web calendars may catch up in popularity, says Tom Austin, analyst with the Gartner Group in Stamford, Connecticut.
Web calendaring hasn't gained the attention or popularity of free e-mail services like Microsoft's HotMail. But as portals rush to add features, online calendars could become as popular as free Web e-mail accounts.
WebCal enjoyed an early success when Yahoo bought it last year in a deal worth $25 million. Another success is When.com, which signed a partnership deal with Netscape last week to run the NetCenter online calendar service.
Jump Networks, an Internet startup headquartered in Ithaca, New York, will launch Jump.com on Monday. Jump claims a level of application integration that you can't find anywhere else. It pulls together online content and event information, along with bread-and-butter Web calendar offerings like e-mail, an address book, and synchronization with Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Organizer, and handheld devices.
But don't stop there.
Jintek, a San Diego, California, company, launched ScheduleOnline.com on Wednesday. Also free, the service targets small to midsize businesses that may not have the resources to run full-blown groupware like Lotus Notes or Outlook.
Also bidding to become an online calendar destination is AnyDay.com, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In February AnyDay.com will launch an online calendar that can synchronize with Outlook and Lotus Organizer. Users will be able to schedule personal or community events, or set up private calendars for affinity groups like clubs or sports leagues.
Other online calendars include PlanetAll, Remind-U-Mail, Appoint.net, and Dataferret.
It's too soon to pick a winner in this still-immature market, Austin says.
"A lot of companies are going to go out of business as quickly as they go into business," Austin says. "Competition is cutthroat. I predict many will fall to the wayside."
Only about 10 percent of Internet users use Web-based calendars, says George Gould, director of product marketing at Amplitude Software, a calendar software company. "Right now we don't see a bright future for Internet-based calendars," he says. Today, he adds, the big money for calendar and scheduling products is in software sales to small and large businesses -- a market estimated at $5 billion to $7 billion.
"Some companies will be successful [online]. Sadly, most will fail," Gould says.
Austin maintains that Web calendars will succeed -- the question is when. As online communities prosper over the next two years, online scheduling and calendars will grow in popularity, industry-watchers suggest. Check the calendar.
Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.