Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Easilydo Smart Assistant App Opens Up Platform

One of the most interesting areas in consumer tech right now is personal assistant mobile apps — smart calendars like Tempo (and another new one today called Sunrise), smart address books like Addappt, and smart everythings like Google Now.

Easilydo doesn’t necessarily replace an existing app, but it’s kind of like a smart proactive to-do list for the iPhone. The app uses similar techniques to others — slurping in your email and Facebook and everything else and applying natural language processing and other logic — and suggests simple tasks it can complete for you.

So for instance, Easilydo will help merge contacts and RSVP for events. It also can send alerts about when to leave for an upcoming meeting or automatically enter the passcode when dialing in for a conference call.

Today the appmaker — which is backed by investors including U.S. Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund — is adding a bunch more of those features and also making itself more accessible to outside developers.

In my experience with Easilydo, it’s nice enough but it doesn’t necessarily have a killer application yet. It’s not all that important for me to clean up my contacts, and there are many apps that do some of those other tricks. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see Easilydo inserting itself into my life at appropriate times.

For instance, last week I sent money via PayPal to a friend of a friend I was going on a trip with over the holiday weekend, and shortly after Easilydo saw the confirmation email, it sent me a push notification asking if I wanted to add her to my contacts. Sure! And yesterday I got an Easilydo push notification telling me it would rain today. Useful!

Weather is actually one of the new “Do Its” Easilydo is releasing in an app update today, along with a way to automatically send an SMS when you leave a location (perhaps a nice way to let your spouse know you’re on your way home from work). There’s also support for multiple email accounts per user.

The update adds eight of the 10 features most often requested by Easilydo users, said Easilydo CEO Mikael Berner.

We don’t usually cover this kind of feature release, but what caught my attention in a recent interview with Berner was that Easilydo has with this launch rebuilt its app to start offering new “Do Its” as over-the-air updates rather than App Store refreshes.

Berner said his Mountain View, Calif.-based company is now challenging itself to release one new feature per week — so for instance, this week it will start adding OpenTable reservations to users’ calendars.

And, more importantly, with this update Easilydo is positioning itself as an open platform that other developers will be able to build and release on — an important step that many of its competitors haven’t gotten to yet.

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