TimeTrade Systems, which makes software that helps harried professionals schedule appointments, released a personal SAAS scheduling application for sales and service workers Aug. 25.
TimeDriver, available as a free beta on both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac desktop computers, lets an individual worker who wants to book appointments with a prospective client set up invitations through his or her Google or Microsoft Outlook calendar. The application runs on Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox.
Like Salesforce.com, Zoho Applications or Google Apps, TimeDriver is one of many software-as-a-service tools designed to run on the Internet, instead of making professionals download yet another application that will clutter their already overburdened PCs.
It's important to note that TimeDriver is not a calendar-sharing application. The application talks to a user's Outlook or Google calendar to offer customers time slots from the inviter's schedule, but the user's calendar remains private to humans.
After an inviter sets up an account and puts in his or her schedule, TimeDriver embeds a button bearing the prompt "Schedule Now" within an e-mail or Web site that links to open time slots in the inviter's calendar. Inviters send an e-mail to invitees, or the invitees see the offer on a communal Web site.
Invitees can choose the date and time that works best for them and make an appointment. TimeDriver then automatically streams the appointment to the inviter's calendar and sends an e-mail confirmation to the invitee.
I used this application firsthand to accept a briefing with TimeTrade founder and Chairman Marco Peterson, and it worked perfectly. I received an invite, clicked the link and perused his briefing schedule.
I selected the time and clicked to book that time slot. The application offered to place the appointment in Google Calendar or Outlook. I chose the latter and the application reached out from the TimeDriver site to my Outlook application, where I saved the appointment.
Beyond the fact that it works, I think what I appreciated most was that I didn't need to have a TimeDriver account. This is a break from, say, Web conferencing applications, which make me download a client application.