Google Buys iOS Time-Management App Vendor Timeful

By Jaikumar Vijayan  |  Posted 2015-05-04 Print this article Print
Timeful app for iOS

Google acquired Timeful, a vendor of an iOS-only time-management application.  Will the app soon be available on Android devices?

Google revealed that it acquired Timeful, a vendor of an iOS-only time-management application, for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase gives Google access to technology designed to let people organize and schedule daily activities more efficiently. The software's key feature is its ability to intelligently suggest times during the day or week for users to accomplish tasks on their to-do lists based on their habits and other scheduled events on their calendar.

"You can tell Timeful you want to exercise three times a week or that you need to call the bank by next Tuesday, and their system will make sure you get it done based on an understanding of both your schedule and your priorities," Google's Director of Product Development Alex Gawley said in announcing the purchase Monday.

Timeful's technology will work with Gmail, Google Inbox, Calendar and future time-management and scheduling apps from the company. "The Timeful team has built an impressive system that helps you organize your life by understanding your schedule, habits and needs," the company said.

In a notice announcing Google's purchase of the company, Timeful said that iPhone users would be able to continue to download and use the mobile app as always. Users who choose to can also export their data from the site at any time. Moving forward, Timeful will focus on developing new projects in conjunction with Google, the company said.

Timeful is a free application first introduced in Apple's Play store just last July. It works with iCal, Outlook and Google Cal. The application brings together into the Calendar, the user's scheduled events, to-do items and habits, such as daily jogging or walking. It then runs what the company has described as sophisticated algorithms to figure out the optimal times during the day or week for the user to accomplish items on their list of things to do.

Mobile-application ranking Website App Annie describes Timeful as an application that learns from the user's behavior, adapts to his or her schedule and gets better at personalizing recommendations with continued use over time.  "Timeful brings everything that competes for your time together into one place–your meetings, events, to-dos, and even good habits you're looking to develop," App Annie noted in its description of the software. Some, like Business Insider have rated Timeful as an extremely useful application for iOS users.

User response to the application itself, however, appears somewhat muted. Soon after its release last year, the application ranked briefly among the top productivity applications for iOS in App Annie. But in the past several months, it has ranked well below 100 in most of the markets in which it is available. At the time of Google's announcement Monday, Timeful ranked 456 among the list of most popular productivity applications for iOS in the United States.

A handful of user reviews on Apple's iTunes appeared to reflect some frustration among users with recent tweaks to the product

"I used your app faithfully for months and had a good understanding of how it worked," a reviewer using the handle Michaelphd noted. "It was my favorite calendar/to-do app by far. But when you started forcing my to-do's into my calendar, I deleted the app."

Another reviewer going by the name bro12345621 lamented Timeful's decision to do away with its suggestions feature altogether. "Automatically setting times for tasks without my consent just leads to annoying notifications unless I take the time to reschedule every single one I don't want to do."

It's too soon to say what Google's plans for the product are, but some might assume that the company will make a version of Timeful available for Android users as well.


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