Several months back, we looked at an iOS app called NeverLate. It wasn’t as beautiful as most calendars, but it was incredibly smart, with the ability to pull off stunts like checking the traffic and alerting you if you should leave early to that meeting. But it was otherwise a bit hideous.
Now, NeverLate has been reborn as the free app Mynd. And while all of that really smart learning calendar stuff stays intact, the homescreen completely reimagines what a calendar can look like. Rather than feed yet another list of things to do, Mynd breaks down your day into people, places, tasks, and locations.
“We really wanted to show you more about the stuff that’s inside your events,” explains Mynd’s founder Max Wheeler. “All our efforts to do this within the traditional calendar views resulted in a bad experience for users.”
This grid approach, which is a bit reminiscent of the Windows 8 “content not chrome” UI, is a total shift in the conceptualization of a schedule. It’s almost as if, thanks to powerful AI alerts, Mynd knows it can change your way of thinking about your day, from “when do I need to be where?” to “who will I see and what will we be talking about?” (Of course, for traditionalists, a normal list view is always just a tap away.)
Now I’m still not sure I’d call Mynd beautiful, but it is certainly imaginative in its visual approach. Much like Google’s AI-driven Google Now service, a bit of prechewed information (something as simple as travel times) can lighten the load of information-heavy interface. In Google Now’s case, the list of links has become a series of cards. In Mynd’s case, a list of events has become a grid of people, places, and even weather conditions.
In fact, there’s so much overlap between the two services that I asked Wheeler if he was worried about the competition. He was at first, he admitted, but he’s confident in Mynd’s ability to habitually reshape the way we experience each day.
“Google Now is sort of an ambient information stream. If you have some idle time available it’s fun to take a look at it and see what it came up with,” Wheeler says. “However, it’s not a utility that you can necessarily rely on to find specific knowledge. The calendar is an app that I go to every day, multiple times a day because I’m looking for something specific. With the calendar I know exactly where to look for what I need.”
Wheeler isn’t wrong, of course. But were Google Now to snake its way into Google Cal? Or were Now to become so entrenched and encompassing that we ditched our calendars altogether? Well, there’s not much any app developer could do about that.