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Siri's contextual sister, Tempo, blows away Apple's iPhone calendar

This is the year of increased productivity, particularly on mobile. Just a week ago we saw the highly-hyped launch of Mailbox. That is a really nice email replacement app that’s a lot nicer than Apple’s own email app. (I can’t use it because it doesn’t support Gmail’s labels, which I use extensively, but other than that it certainly is nice and has been racking up great reviews).

But today brings a really huge shift in productivity apps: this is the first app that looks for context from your email, calendars, contacts, and even social networks to build a new kind of calendar. One that brings important things you need to know into your calendar. “We wanted to bring a full replacement experience,” says Raj Singh, founder and CEO of TempoAI in the attached video.

So, why is it so good? Why do I believe that Apple should buy it, just like it bought Siri?

1. It brings you important data that you forget to enter. Email addresses, phone numbers, attachments, pertinent emails and facts, all are gathered and brought into your calendar.

2. It makes it easier for conference calls. You click on the number and it’ll automatically add in your PIN codes and other codes to get accepted into a conference call.

3. The views are nicer than Apple’s calendar. Easier to use while walking, or doing other things (if you are running late for a meeting you will call them, right? Distracted driving kills and this calendar is a lot easier to find important things like phone numbers).

4. It hooks up to some things on the Internet. Put a flight number in your calendar? It’ll find the status for you. This is the kind of anticipatory feature that contextual systems will increasingly bring us (just like Google Now).
The more this knows about you the better it’ll serve you.

5. It’ll anticipate your needs and help you live your life. It’ll tell you drive times to your next meeting, for instance.

Is it perfect? No. What I found after using it for a few weeks is that I’ve changed my calendar behavior slightly so that it properly finds the right emails. I used to enter things like “Meet Sam.” Now I’ll change that to “Meet Sam Levin at home.” Just that extra detail keeps it from getting confused and bringing in wrong emails. I found when I put things into my calendar like “BLOCK” it would try to find something in my email that matches that, so I needed to change my titles once in a while to make my calendar more useful.

It also is mostly client side at this point, which means that you can’t share this stuff with other people. Raj says they are working on an enterprise version, which will let you share your Tempo calendars with other people (I share my Google calendar with Rocky and my wife so they can add things and change things on my behalf).

In the video Singh explains how the calendar works, and where it’ll be going.

So, when I first saw Siri (I was the first to see it outside of SRI -- http://scobleizer.com/2010/02/08/why-if-you-miss-siri-youll-miss-the-future-of-the-web/ ) I turned to the team and said “you’re gonna get bought very quickly.” I had no idea that Steve Jobs would end up buying it after only a couple of weeks on the market. The Siri team said Jobs was so desperate to get Siri that he called dozens of times to convince the team to join Apple.

Will Tim Cook do the same with Tempo? I think he should. Yes, there are competitors coming but they aren’t as good. I predict, though, that instead of about $220 million it cost Apple to buy Siri, that buying Tempo will cost a billion. Why? Because Apple will want to keep this out of Google’s hands (and out of Mark Zuckerberg’s hands, too — imagine if Facebook got this calendar).

By the way, if you get Tempo, you should also upgrade your Gmail, which will help Tempo find only good stuff. Here’s some other things I did to my Gmail account to clean it out of crap which might find its way onto your calendar:

I turned on SmartLabels. This is a feature in labs and separates promotional and social emails out of your inbox. http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-in-gmail-labs-smart-labels.html 

I turned on OtherInBox. This will further filter emails that aren’t important out of your inbox. It is filtering all my press releases into a separate folder, for instance. I also use Sanebox, but that costs money and doesn’t do much more than OtherInBox for most people. If you are a heavy email user I’d recommend buying that too. http://www.otherinbox.com/ and http://www.sanebox.com/l/home_1/

I use Unroll.me. This unsubscribes me from mailing lists and junk email senders. You have to be careful with this, because it’ll unsubscribe you from mailing lists you actually like to get, but it does dramatically clean up your inbox, at least in my experience. Another choice is Swizzle, which some say is better than Unroll.me. I’m trying both, will report more soon. http://unroll.me/ and https://theswizzle.com/Browse

Anyway, this is the most productive new app I’ve gotten in more than a year. Hope you find it as useful as I do. Get it in the iOS app store here. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tempo-smart-calendar/id593819390?mt=8

This was reprinted from my blog at http://scobleizer.com/2013/02/13/siris-contextual-sister-tempo-blows-away-apples-iphone-calendar/
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62 comments
 
Just installed. It's doing its thing. Looks awesome.
 
This sounds like a +Google Now competitor. I agree if Apple doesn't grab it, Google would to strengthen Now.
 
Google gets it; Apple meanders 
 
Looking to install later, anything to help create calmness in the madness that is my calendar will be useful!
 
+Robert Scoble  saw this on Facebook.. Looks really interesting...... is Tempo free? never mind I just heard that it was :)
 
This looks awesome. One quick point about Mailbox - it does support gmail labels, sort of. Like you, I rely heavily on Gmail labels (and filters) and was disappointed when I first began to use Mailbox. However, you can simply nest your gmail folders under the Mailbox folder and all will work fine. Is that as good as supporting the native gmail folders? No, but it at least solves the main problem for me - I want to file messages away, so that I can find them more easily later.
 
+Robert Scoble It sounds a lot like what Google seems to want to achieve with Now (across the spectrum) on a more hyper focused level (which is cool).
 
Wow, this sounds awesome but can't find it in the app store through my phone. Actually had to download it through iTunes and then sync. Did a search for "tempo," "tempo AI," "tempo smart." Very strange. Anyway, got it. Looking forward to using it based on your writeup.
 
Looks very interesting, installing it as I'm watching the video :-)
 
+Robert Scoble This is one of the reasons I think Google should add in some sort of Now API that functions almost like intents do. There's no way they can get the system to do as well as hyper focused Apps like this, so why try? Why not make it so devs can link into Now with ideas like this? (But that's a separate topic...)
 
wow looks amazing.. I can't download it yet, as it's not available outside of the US..+Robert Scoble how does Tempo differ from cue? Is it much better?
 
Robert, glad you added an iTunes link to Tempo. Just searching in the iTunes store doesn't work. ("Tempo" alone brings up over 250 apps. And "Tempo AI", "tempo calendar", etc. didn't work.) Will give it a try...
 
Looks awesome, but I haven't been able to get to it on my phone, much like +Jason Thibeault. I briefly get a flash of a iTunes Preview page...so is it still in beta?
 
Quick notes:
Next generation assistant/organizer
Full replacement experience
The calendar is intent with action
Auto-discovery of "primary intent" of the meeting/event
Contextually relevant information around the event, dynamically pulled in from multiple sources into a single source of access

Looks very powerful at first glance. Will keep my eye out for Android version
 
Does it work on Android, Robert? How about Win8 or Unbuntu?  There is more in the world than just Apple's ecosystem.
 
I totally love the look and feel of this app, but alas, being in the UK, I can't get it! Have enquired as to when it'll be available.
 
Would love to try this but not in the UK itunes store - why?
 
just downloaded it but now says not accepting new accounts
 
sounds incredibly awesome!!! 
 
How do you see this all relating to Google Glass and other AR eye devices?

I see them as porting alerts in context. Are you even allowed to talk about Glass +Robert Scoble? I am guessing all you first round of dev guys are under serious NDAs until whenever.
 
Looks great. Too bad its available in the Canadian store yet.
 
Hey +Robert Scoble I recall you reviewed a similar product maybe 2 years ago? I think it was for Android at the time. It brought together lots of context from mail, contacts and calendar, not sure what it was called? One of the problems was that it stored all your information on their servers, which some people may not have been happy with.
It looked promising but went away after a short while?
 
Cool thing. I suppose we cannot expect language versions just yet. Or capabilities to interpret a calendar with bilingual entries. I'm Swedish and obviously the majority of my calendar entries are in Swedish. But I also interact a lot with international colleagues in English (and in some cases even Norwegian which is close to Swedish). That would really be a challenge. But hey, development has to start somewhere. I will give a try and see what funny interpretations it makes of my Swedish entries :)
 
Am I being paranoid or is no one concerned about some group of developers having access to an awful lot of their personal information?
 
+Andrew Eisner +Robert Scoble Wasn't it Patty Seybold who said years ago that privacy was fungible? People will trade varying levels of personal/private information for services they perceive as valuable. We've done it for years, and we'll continue to make these sometimes potentially Faustian trades with those that deliver services we find interesting, valuable, or both. The "Age of Context," indeed! :-)
 
As usual, +Robert Scoble is my source for all that is cool and new.

"Tempo is currently not allowing new accounts to be created at this time. Please try again later."

Now I'm waiting in line at Mailbox and here.
 
I downloaded it but the app says it is not accepting new users. How'd you all get in?
 
Really like to know when it's going to be available in the UK Robert ... You have got me interested !
 
FYI. just got denied install.  Says that the app is not currently allowing new accounts to be created at this time.  any thoughts?
 
I am in the UK....this App isnt available....!, Any suggestions?
 
Been constantly refreshing hoping there's only a couple hour's delay between US and UK app store availability, sadly it seems like that isn't the case.
 
Wow it seems to really be pulling in a lot of data.  I am coming to hour 3 of "Items Enhancing" with 33K+ enhanced items so far.  
 
Downloading..

Regarding privacy concerns, location data being available is a real concern. How long before low level employees at companies are being bribed to give that out? Nasty surprises are possible, even likely.

The answer is for app makers to demonstrate how they are safeguarding our data, not just from hackers but also from employees. Those that have to have internal access need to be accountable. Doable but perhaps inconvenient.

Overcoming that inconvenience is a competitive differentiation for the app maker as well as a possible defense against lawsuits.

How my data is handled very much influences who's app I trust.
 
Please correct me if I am wrong.
So this application relies on storing all my mail, contacts and calendar on their own servers?
Over the years I've trusted my data with Google, putting somebody else in the middle (similar to how Mailbox works) makes me a little worried. Just another server that could be hacked and compromise all my data?
Andy P
 
All this hype then I find out it's not available in the UK app store :(
 
+Robert Scoble thanks for checking. It's not the trust of the company that I'm bothered about too much but the security of their systems from external compromise that worries me more. 
 
"Tempo is currently not allowing new accounts to be created at this time."
Any suggestions, +Robert Scoble ?
 
I get a "Connection Failed Tempo is currently not allowing new accounts to be created at this time."

WTF?
 
+Robert Scoble Took the time to watch the video today, wondering how much of this intent and context engine is based in the phone, and how much of it is run thru a prediction engine on the servers?

Was SRI willing to expand on that one? And can we follow more from SRI on G+ or FB?
 
Jesus, who is the stoned kid giving the interview? He keeps interrupting, talking about other products... I bailed after the second interruption.
 
+Robert Scoble Have you talked to or going to be talking to Jeff Hawkins of Nuementa.com ? His AI ideas are the only ones I am listening to these days. Smart cat...
 
But I would still love to know how much this app runs on the local phone, and how much modeling goes on on the servers. (one reason Android scares devs, you can decompile the APK at times, probably not in this app though).

I could care less about privacy so that is not my concern, just trying to think out the architecture...
 
Wish they were still allowing people to sign up.They are not allowing any new accounts.Hate that when I get something like this and you can't try it
 
+Ray Beauchamp They are implementing a reservations system now. I was able to get in by trying at the top of the hour.
 
its like Google Now for all your data other than Google data
 
Now that they've turned on the AI/machine learning again, my mail has been processing for three days. I'm not seeing any improvements yet.
 
Tempo has too many sync problems and the company keeps making excuses. I'm giving up on it. 
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