TimeBridge web-scheduling service
- Scheduling meetings is easy no matter what type of e-mail, calendar app or browser you use, TimeBridge can automatically schedule a meeting when all of the attendees are available according to their calendar
- Limited to people within the same company, there are a few glitches
If your meeting invitees are all internal to your organisation and on the same Microsoft-based mail and calendar systems, Outlook 2007 may provide all the scheduling tools you need. But TimeBridge offers much more flexibility and time savings for people who collaborate in many environments and in various browser platforms.
TimeBridge is an effective meeting scheduler for people who don't work in Microsoft-centric organisations -- and for those who do.
Meetings may be a necessary evil, but the time required to schedule them can be a real productivity killer. Microsoft Outlook has helpful tools such as shared calendars and auto-selection of meeting times, but its usefulness is limited to people within the same company.
TimeBridge, a free Web-based service, surpasses Outlook's approach, allowing you to quickly and easily schedule meetings with anyone, no matter what e-mail service, calendaring app or browser they have -- and they don't even need to be TimeBridge users. The service is especially useful when you must schedule meetings with people outside of your organisation.
You can schedule meetings in just three steps on the TimeBridge site. You enter the e-mail addresses of your attendees, type in a meeting topic, and then choose up to five proposed meeting times. You select the proposed times from your TimeBridge calendar; if you've linked it with your calendar in Outlook (using a small, free plug-in) or Google, your existing appointments will already appear.
(If the meeting attendees are TimeBridge users who have linked their calendars, the meeting organiser can see when they're free and use that information to further narrow down the potential times.)
Since TimeBridge uses the linked calendars only to show basic availability, not details of already scheduled events, privacy is maintained.
Once you've completed these steps (and added an optional note for your attendees), you click Send to set TimeBridge in motion. Your attendees receive a well-designed e-mail form that lets them vote for their preferred time, by designating which times are 'best', which are 'acceptable', and which are 'not available'.
TimeBridge gathers and analyses the results, and uses the weighted responses to book the most convenient meeting time, greatly reducing or even eliminating the back-and-forth communication that often happens when colleagues attempt to coordinate multiple schedules.
Attendees with a calendar linked to TimeBridge will automatically see the event added to their own calendars, while others will receive a confirmation e-mail along with a link to download the meeting to their calendar platform; Google, Outlook, Yahoo, and both iCal and Entourage in Mac OS X are supported.
TimeBridge lets a meeting organiser operate almost in "fire and forget" mode -- after you enter the initial information in TimeBridge, the service takes care of the rest. For fast access you can even create or drag and drop a TimeBridge bookmark into your browser to quickly click and begin the simple scheduling process.
The service still has a glitch or two to be worked out, though: for example, choosing 10am to 11am in the interface in Apple's Safari browser created a meeting from 2pm to 3pm. Fixing the problem required only a simple drag and drop of the correct time, though.
Outlook 2007 does provide an adequate method of scheduling meetings. It can automatically pick the best possible time based on criteria you set, such as scheduling the meeting when all of the attendees are available, and it can show the free or busy schedules of potential attendees.
It works effectively, however, only when resources are on the same internal e-mail system such as Microsoft Exchange -- and that simple requirement might not be met for weeks or months out, as calendars can easily fill up with a myriad of events. The more attendees needed for a meeting, the more schedules enter the mix, so it's not unheard of for Outlook to find a time that's suitable for everyone but too far off in the future to be practical.
People in different organisations can share their calendars through another interface such as Microsoft Office Online, but even in this case the burden of scheduling still lies with the meeting organiser -- that is, the organiser has to set a single meeting time and then try to reschedule for a time acceptable to all once the inevitable decline responses come back. Another option is Outlook Web Access (OWA), a Web-based client that mimics the full Outlook desktop software; but if you don't use Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser (version 5 or better), you'll see merely a "light" version of OWA.
Scheduling a meeting in the OWA calendar with Firefox, Opera or Safari in the light version shows only a daily calendar view, with no auto-selection of time available.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Windows 10 S will not run Linux, even though it's a downloadable Windows app
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
- Microsoft redesigns OneNote UI to make it more universally accessible
- Windows 10 Insider build 16199 fills some holes in the Creators Update
- Google Assistant branches out, supporting third-party hardware and smarter features
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Moto G5 smartphone: full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- TPSenior Project Manager | DETQLD
- FTProject Control Analyst - PMONSW
- TPBusiness AnalystACT
- FTSAP HANA ConsultantNSW
- CCSenior Network Architect - CCIEVIC
- CCInfrastructure EngineerACT
- TPSupport Engineer (Security Tools)VIC
- TPSOE EngineerACT
- TPBusiness Analyst - ImprovementQLD
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- TPETL DeveloperNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTDeployment Analyst / Customer Service - Minchinbury NSWNSW
- FTServer EngineerSA
- TPSenior .Net DeveloperSA
- FTSoftware Licensing and Contract AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Unix/Linux EngineerNSW
- FTIT OfficerACT
- CCData Warehouse Solution DesignersACT
- TPDigital Business AnalystNSW
- TPReporting DeveloperWA
- FTCyber Security Technical WriterNSW
- FTField Engineer - Hardware DeploymentsNSW
- CCOracle CCB DesignerVIC