tl;dr: Boomerang now helps you schedule meetings! Save lots of time, eliminate email back-and-forth, and end double-booking forever. Look for the calendar icon in your Compose window and the Add Event button in Read view.
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Exactly 10 years ago today, we released Boomerang to the world.1 Back then, managing a busy Inbox was the #1 productivity issue for a lot of us. And as three young engineers and first-time founders, we were so excited to start the long journey of making email work better for everyone.
In 2010, a deluge of constant email interruptions was a staple of office life. Today, thanks to Inbox Pause, it’s not. Back then, it was hard to know if an email you were writing was effective. Now you can use Respondable’s AI to predict and optimize your message before you even press send. Before, you couldn’t easily make sure you followed up on an email if someone didn’t get back to you. Today, just ask Boomerang. If you got an email on Friday at 5, it would be buried. Now use Boomerang to have it come back to the top of your Inbox at the perfect time. Plus lots more.
Now that we’ve made great strides toward achieving email nirvana, we started thinking about how else we could help. We found an obvious contender, often soaking up 30% of the time folks spend in email. So today, in celebration of our 10th birthday, we’re tackling the next big hurdle in email productivity – meeting scheduling.
Whether you’re meeting online or in person, and whether you’re meeting a customer, a vendor, a business partner, or even your personal trainer, scheduling meetings is hard. Someone sends you an email with some times; naturally, all of those times are bad for you. So you send an email back with a bunch of times. Then they say none of those work for them. You reply with a few more, and they finally pick one. But since they didn’t see your email for a few hours, you’re now double-booked. Now you’re back to square one. This is par for the course — one study found that it takes 8 emails to schedule a meeting on average!
Meet Boomerang’s brand new scheduling features.2 The new Scheduling features take the pain out of making meetings happen. They give you the ability to suggest meeting times or to share your free/busy schedule from right inside your email. Combined with Event Detection in emails you receive, Boomerang for Gmail just became the most powerful scheduling tool you’ve ever used.
The reason Boomerang’s scheduling features are the most powerful ever is the Magic Live Calendar. A Magic Live Calendar is a live, interactive view of your schedule, embedded directly inside an email. The patented technology3 behind the Magic Live Calendar makes it possible to update this view behind the scenes in real time as your schedule changes. So scheduling meetings is easier than ever, right from inside your Inbox.
Let’s take a deeper tour of how the new features work! But first, if you don’t see Boomerang in your Gmail, please take a moment to install it.
Suggest Times – Schedule Meetings in One Email
Use Suggest Times to schedule a meeting in a single email – no more back and forth! Just choose a set of times that are good for you and email it to your guest. Your guest clicks a time inside that email, and the meeting is in both your calendars!
Thanks to Boomerang’s Magic Live Calendar, everything works perfectly even if your availability changes after you send the email. If you add an event to your calendar that overlaps with one of the suggested times, it will be automatically removed!
Suggest Times is super-configurable, so you can use it to schedule meetings under just about any circumstances. Use Prevent Double Booking and Boomerang will automatically remove slots that you schedule events over. We’ll add them back if those times free up again. Reserve Times to set up a “meeting hold” by blocking all of the times you suggest in your calendar so that nothing else can get booked on top of them. Once your guest picks a time, those spots will all free up again, automatically.
You can choose to share your free/busy schedule on the dates you send, so your guest can pick time that you didn’t suggest in case nothing works. You can even turn off the Magic Live Calendar, and we’ll fall back to a svelte text experience. Finally, we’re virtual-meeting-ready. Just add your Zoom link (or any other meeting software link of your choice), and we’ll stash it right there for you, so you can use it every time without typing.
Share Free/Busy – Meeting Scheduling on Autopilot
Share a live snapshot of your free or busy schedule with anyone you’re emailing. Use this lightweight approach to sharing your schedule and give your guest access to your availability information without giving up any privacy. As your schedule fills up, your available times update automatically, every time they open the email, so you can prevent double booking.
You can send the next few days, next week, exclude weekends (or not), pick which hours to share, and choose which of your calendars (or calendars shared with you — we’ll merge availability automatically in real-time) you want included in the snapshot.
Thanks to the Magic Live Calendar, everything stays up to date, even if your schedule changes after you send the email. If you’re flexible about when meetings happen, or if you’ve ever tried an AI scheduling service, you (and everyone you schedule with) will love Share Free/Busy.
Add Event – The Easiest Way to Turn an Email into an Event
Of course, you don’t always send the first email for every meeting you plan to have. In that case, try Boomerang’s Add Event feature. Click Add Event, and we’ll pre-populate a calendar event for you with everything filled in from the information inside the email. We’ll find meeting links, locations, times, time zones, dates, attendees, and everything else. No more separate invitations, no more confusion, no more transcription. Say farewell to typos and that extra calendar tab you had to keep open!
The Add Event dialog is packed with thoughtful affordances to make getting events into your calendar effortless. For example, you’ll notice that all of the times we detected in the email are highlighted in red, yellow, and green – those colors show you whether you’re busy, back-to-back, or free during those times. Hover over one of them to get a preview of what the event would look like in your schedule, or click one to prefill all of the meeting information based on that time. You can also send automatic meeting reminders, invite other guests who are on the email thread, and manage multiple calendars with ease.
Effortless Meeting Scheduling on the Go
Meet the most powerful meeting scheduling solution that’s ever existed in a mobile app. All of the features that we showed on the web are also available on iOS today. Boomerang is the only email app in the App Store with the ability to suggest meetings or share your availability with one tap! Get it on your iPhone or iPad today.
We are looking forward to having coronavirus behind us and being able to meet in person again. In the meantime, we have optimized our scheduling experience for the virtual world by saving your conferencing links and auto-detecting links from Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and lots more.
Since everything is in beta, all these features are 100% free for now. As you (may) know, we keep the lights on around here with subscriptions, rather than by selling your data. So as these features mature out of beta, we expect to start charging for some subset of them. We hope you understand!
Ready to download? Great, click here! Or, read on for a brief Q&A.
Does the recipient need to be using Gmail or Google Calendar?
No, the scheduling features work regardless of which email platform and devices your recipient uses. The Magic Live Calendar is compatible with Outlook, Gmail, iPhone, Android, and almost everything else.
Does the recipient need to be using Boomerang?
No, they don’t need to use Boomerang, or sign in, or create an account, or anything! They just need to be using plain old email.
How is this different from existing services?
There have been a number of solutions that have tried to tackle this problem. While most of them improve scheduling for meeting hosts, Boomerang’s patented Magic Live Calendar is a much better, much more respectful and convenient experience for both hosts and guests.
Because the emails you send with Boomerang are always-up-to-date, you don’t have to worry about double booking. With every other scheduling solution, the moment you send an email, the scheduling information you included is immediately out of date. And unlike other services, Boomerang reduces scheduling work for everyone, instead of pushing all the scheduling work onto your guest and treating them like an assistant.
Do you mine people’s calendar information and sell it to evil databrokers, the Russians, or Facebook?
Nope! We do not sell data, and we never have. Boomerang’s business model is freemium, which means that we make money by charging a subscription fee for premium features in the product.
Speaking of freemium, how much do these new features cost?
They’re completely free to use while we beta test them. We will use the information we learn from the beta program to figure out which features to put in which plan.
I use Outlook at work – can I get these features there?
Yes! You can get Boomerang for Outlook from www.boomerangoutlook.com!
I use an Android phone… when will these features be on Android?
We’re hiring for an Android developer role right now, so hopefully soon! BTW, If you’re friendly, into productivity tools, have at least 3 years of experience developing Android apps, live in and are authorized to work anywhere in the US, and you think it would be fun to bring this magic to Android, please send us an email!
So is this a pivot?
Nope! Boomerang still has all of the functionality all 6 million of you have come to rely on over the past 10 years. Insights, Inbox Pause, Respondable, Recurring Messages, Read Receipts, Response Tracking, Snooze and Send Later aren’t going anywhere.
The last decade has been an amazing adventure for us. It’s been an honor and a privilege to be able to help so many people with something they use every single day. Thank you for being part of it, and cheers to the next decade!
Stay safe out there,
The Boomerang Team
P.S. We’d love to hear what you think about the new features! Let us know what you’d like to see next on our feature request board. We also read and respond to every email if you prefer to email us.
- If you want a walk down memory lane, here’s the first-ever article about Boomerang! The author of that article, Brad, edited this email in his role as our Director of Marketing. Do you love Boomerang? We’re hiring for a data-driven marketer, a mobile (Android-focused) engineer, and a senior full stack web engineer with Python/Django experience. These positions can be in our Mountain View headquarters (post-virus shutdown), or remote from anywhere in the US! Learn more here.
- Are you a current Boomerang Calendar user? First off, thanks for all of your feedback that helped us to build scheduling features into Boomerang for Gmail. You can feel free to remove the Boomerang Calendar extension now, as long as you have Boomerang for Gmail installed. We’re still adding scheduling features to Boomerang for Gmail. If you need all of the Boomerang Calendar features then you can continue to use it without issue.
- The patents mean that unlike a few of our other features, giant tech companies can’t just copy this one.