Ever try to schedule a meeting with someone in a different time zone?
It probably fails half the time, mostly because your calendar doesn’t make even the smallest attempt to understand you, despite the data that it has. I could type in a location in San Francisco for a meeting and it doesn’t even so much as ask “Did you mean to schedule this for New York time or San Fran time?” Hell, I throw my TripIt flight information onto my calendar—literally telling Google Calendar that I will be travelling to that destination—and it still doesn’t adjust things for me. I think it would be a lot easier if you could just declare, by day, what city you’ll be in—or have the calendar automatically detect it based on where your appointments are.
Not only that, but it doesn’t prevent me from defying the laws of physics either. Back to back meetings in Manhattan and Brooklyn with no travel time in between? Sure! How did the calendar know I was a jumper? It wouldn’t take a lot for your calendar system (or a plugin) to start building in a basic set of rules around buffers for travel time, between meetings and taking the time to understand location.
Another simple layer might be to attach locations to all my meetings—sort of like what TuneUp does for music—just take appointments that doesn’t have readable addresses in the location field and fix them. Half of the time I’m typing in something like “Emily/Charlie – Coffee Shop”. It wouldn’t take a very complicated algorithm to identify which Emily I’m talking about and based on Foursquare checkins which venue I mean.
With a cleaned up calendar that has proper location data, you could start to make some smart suggestions for meals (especially when no location has been chosen for noon appointments and you know where each person’s office is). Just the other day a startup from another city came in asking for a meal suggestion after an 11AM with me. Their calendar should have been able to make that recommendation pretty easily. If it was a social app, you could have picked from the most frequently visited venues of the people who work right here in this office.
There is so much location and social data locked up in our calendars—who I meet with and when. I’d love to see something smart pop up around location and calendaring. Calendars should be a much bigger platform than they are.