When it comes to online calendars and calendar applications, services like Google Calendar and Microsoft’s Outlook rule the roost with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. Now another company hopes to wave some feathers with its own movement in space. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Yahoo is working on the so-called Day, a new standalone calendar app. Sources tell us that the company has recruited Jeremy Le Van, who had co-founded another calendar app, Sunrise, and eventually sold it to Microsoft for more than $ 100 million to make it the backbone of the very popular calendar platform from Microsoft in Outlook, to help design it.
Many lamented the sunset of dawn; now it looks like they might now have a chance to get Sunrise 2.0, so to speak.
(Disclaimer: Yahoo is owned by the same company as TechCrunch).
“We are exploring different ways to better serve consumers and that includes new ideas on mobile first time management, calendar and events,” a Yahoo spokesperson said in response to our question.
The service is currently in an invite-only closed alpha as it prepares for a larger launch (you can also sign up on the site).
Calendars serve as the backbone of how many of us organize our days, whether for work or pleasure. And arguably, the more our activities, and the planning for them, move to digital platforms, the more powerful calendars can become.
This means that for platforms, having a calendar function or app as part of a larger service is a good way to keep users engaged on the broader platform, and it is a way for the platform to gain more insight into it. user behavior. Google’s Calendar, for example, is tightly packed, and often automatically, integrated with its broader set of productivity and information services, giving the company one more spoke on its wheel to keep users glued.
And it’s not just Yahoo that might be interested in doing more here. Facebook acquired Redkix in 2018 reportedly to bring more calendar and other productivity tools to Workplace. Ultimately, Workplace integrates with existing third-party offerings, so it doesn’t have its own separate calendar app. Facebook also doesn’t have a separate calendar feature in the main consumer app. But with people planning a lot more on Facebook properties (not just through Facebook Events, but through Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger), it seems like it’s an area it could still expand into at some point.
Yahoo, in fact, already has a scaled-down calendar widget that you can access via Yahoo Mail. It’s unclear how popular this is, especially since it’s so easy these days to integrate email into most other apps from calendar.
The question, then, will be how Day could hope to differentiate itself and how it will hope to compete.
From what we understand, in contrast to the way Google, Microsoft, or even Yahoo are currently integrating calendar features into their broader productivity suites, this is not the approach Yahoo is taking with Day.
The app is being built by people on your Mail team, but it’s being treated “like a startup” in operation, we’ve heard, and you’ve been licensed to develop it independently – it doesn’t have a special Yahoo brand, nor with no Yahoo integration at all. The plan is to keep it separate, not unlike the many calendar apps, like Sunrise was, that exist in the app stores, and turn it into something that can be integrated with whatever other email or other tools a person uses. Over time, there may also be efforts to use Mail, which still has around 200 million users, to help market Day.
The move underscores how Yahoo, which has effectively lost to Google in areas such as search, email, video and advertising, believes that with the right approach, there is still room for further innovation in this crowded market, even when it has a number of flaws. in its history of trying to do just that in other areas. as courier.
But as we pointed out in a recent story about Calendly, a $ 3 billion startup that has proven to be a huge hit with people who need to schedule meetings, calendar apps can be challenging for another reason. They are well used, yes, but also something under the radar: calendars are never a person’s destiny, just a place to mark when, how and with whom you will get there. Can there be more ways to improve that basic functionality?
Yahoo seems to believe that there are, and that people will want to use an application that does.