page contents Review, Holistic Gmail, Todo List and Calendar!

Fancy a universal task management system to tie email, task lists, cloud storage and calendar together? That is what is offering. In this Review, we consider it’s holistic approach to information management for the Chrome and iOS platforms.
7 Reviewer
• Novel Interface
• Integrates Email, Calendar,
Task List GDrive well
• Multi-platform
• Mobile finesse lacking
• High price
• Multi-Pane approach not
mobile compatible
Bottom Line
If you are an avid Google services user then offers a novel pane based solution for tying Gmail, Todo List and Calendar together. Review Introduction

It is often the case that one uses different software for managing email, tasks and files. While there may be advantage in having dedicated tools it can also lead to problems. Conflicts can arise between your task list demanding time, appointments demanding time and email that needs to be processed. On the face of it, having a system where all can be in view would seem a logical approach. Enter stage right, is not the only Software offering some kind of solution to tie email to tasks to calendar etc. but, it’s minimalist pane based approach does offer a different take on the problem.

These “panes”, can show task lists, Gmail, Google Drive files and Calendar

These “panes”, can show task lists, Gmail, Google Drive files and Calendar. Furthermore, tasks, emails, files and appointments can all be dragged and dropped between the panes. So, if an email needs action, you can drag it across to your task list for example. achieves this high level of Google integration by actually leveraging your Google account and storing all task and file information in your Google account. So, the information does not reside on servers, but rather on Googles. Before I kick off this review, I should mention that this is your lucky day. Not only will I review the Chrome version but also the iOS version will also be covered. Two for one special offer, how’s that for a bargain? There is a good reason for doing both though, and that is the usability differences I see between them. So, now that you know how fortunate you are to get two reviews in one article, let’s kick off this Review with the Chrome version user interface. Chrome User Interface

The Chrome user interface appears as several pages placed side by side across the screen. Review Chrome User Interface Chrome User Interface

Each of these pages, or panes, fulfills one of several functions,

  • Outline To-do list
  • Google Drive file browser
  • Calendar
  • Gmail

Overall this provides a very clean cut, tidy user interface with labels, responsibilities and dates showing up as different colours. The colour scheme can be configured as desired in the settings. Tasks, emails and files can be viewed on one screen and when needed, dragged between the panes. To give you some idea how this could be implemented in your workflow here are a couple of examples. Let’s say you have created a task in the task outline pane but as yet you don’t know when you will do it.

You can open a calendar pane, find a suitable time spot and drag the task from the outline view to that calendar time slot

You can open a calendar pane, find a suitable time spot and drag the task from the outline view to that calendar time slot. The outline task list then will then be appended with the date and time you have just allocated in the calendar view. In the last days, additional functionality has been added to the Calendar view to enable the task to be stretched, so you can define the time needed for the task.  You can see this dragging and dropping in action in the video below.

This is one typical, but excellent example of how can enhance you workflow by not only listing tasks but also efficiently defining a suitable time slot in which to execute it. Such a drag and drop approach is more efficient than going from a task list to a calendar and then entering the date and time manually. Although each pane has different functionality, they all have a similar look and feel with the same filtering options such as starred, completed, priority and whether the task is derived from an email. New panes can be added by clicking the little plus sign in the top right of the window and selecting which type of pane, Gmail, task outline and so on. Another important point to mention is that when you set up the panes as needed, you need not be limited by that as multiple workspaces can also be saved. This means can save multiple pane configurations. For example, you can have one setup with a general overview and calendar and another workspace which filters the main task outline by a certain label or parent task. All completely configurable. iOS User Interface

In contrast to the Chrome version of, the iOS version only displays one pane at a time and those panes are limited to Gmail, outline task view and agenda. So, none of the simultaneous multi-pane displays that you will see on a desktop sporting the chrome browser. This may make sense given the small screen on user devices but the end result is the seamless dragging and dropping between multi function panes in the Chrome version, raison d’etre, is absent from the mobile version. Review IOS User Interface Chrome User Interface

The single panes that remain are of the same clean, minimalist style of the Chrome version. Instead of relying on characters such as # to indicate labels or + to assign responsibility, the iOS version has icons to add those at the point of task entry or when editing the task. New tasks can be entered either by selecting the point in the hierarchy and adding directly or by hitting the plus sign on the bottom left of the screen which will add a task to the top of the list. Features and functions

I think I will structure this Review section by pane –

  • Outline task list
  • Calendar view
  • Google drive
  • Gmail Outline Task List

This is a typical hierarchy or nested task list structure. Tasks can be easily added anywhere in the list and indented or out dented to define their level in the hierarchy. The parent tasks can be collapsed which helps remove unnecessary clutter from view so you can focus on the task at hand. Speaking of which, has a nice feature whereby a section of the task list can be zoomed in on so only the tasks of interest are shown. This is activated by either a right swipe on the mobile version or right click on Chrome. This function dovetails nicely with the pane view so you can have one pane showing all tasks and the one beside it having a zoomed view of current tasks. Tasks can be dragged around within the list using your mouse or alternatively Using the sizable arsenal of keyboard shortcuts. The last key feature of the outline view is the addition of additional task information. Tags can be added by simply using the age old hash key. Dates for the tasks can be defined using the @ symbol and naturally having entered the date, this will show up as an entry in the calendar view. responsibilities are defined by + and link to your Google contacts.

For the iOS version there are a couple of key differences for the outline view, primarily to make it mobile friendly. Gestures are available, so you can swipe tasks to delete them, zoom in or of course complete them. The second key difference is that the symbols for tags, dates and so on are omitted in favour of icons. So, instead of trying to find a hashtag on your on screen keyboard, you click the icon and make a selection. This is a reasonable step to allow for task addition on the go. The only problem I see with this is that voice to text cannot be applied. By this I mean you cannot simply say “Doctor appointment at 11”, and have recognize the time and set a reminder. Such smart entry features are available on the likes of Todoist and Wunderlist. Although a minor point, such features can make a dramatic difference in mobile effectiveness.

The iOS interface, while ticking the boxes for most required features lacked a certain flair in the design that made usage a little laboured. In general, the iOS version needs a bit of spit and polish to enhance it’s mobile credentials. Calendar view

The Chrome calendar view offers a daily, weekly or monthly view of scheduled tasks and appointments. The iOS version is somewhat more restrained with merely an agenda view. The nice thing about calendar view is how well it integrates with the task outline view. Dragging a task onto the calendar will update the task view with the dates and times you have just dragged it to. Review Calendar view Calendar view

Gmail view

This is simply a view of your mail inbox. Emails can be received directly in this pane and even sent directly from the Chrome pane or iOS app directly. You can also drag these emails directly from the Gmail pane to the task list to make the email actionable. The only problem I see here is that having completed that task and ticked it off on the list there is no processing of the email in the Gmail pane to indicate the mail action has been completed.

Google drive pane

This gives a simple view of all the folders and files in your Google drive. Files can be easily uploaded by dragging them to this window and also opened directly from here using Google docs or other online tools. Files can also be dragged from the Google Drive pane to the outline pane so the tasks have direct links to the relevant files for executing those tasks. You can read more about the benefit of linking associated files in my great(there’s no point in being modest!) article, Link it! Getting a Head Start on Tasks collaboration

As with many web based task managers, collaboration is pretty much a given. Task lists can be shared by entering the settings for the list and entering the emails of the collaborators. Giving access to your Google contacts also enables the definition of responsibilities beside each task, indicated by +. This gives quick and easy access to email that person also.

Search and filter functionality

One of the primary advantages of an electronic task list over good old pen and paper is the ability to find stuff quickly and easily. offers a couple of possibilities for that. You can filter by task importance, starred, completed of email. This is quick and easy to apply across the platforms via the little funnel icon. The search provides real-time keyword filtering which again helps quickly find what you are looking for. Pricing comes in two flavours, free and premium at $7/month or $69/year. So, what does this wodge of cash get you? Well, the main benefit that you will get is the Calendar and Google Drive functionality, both of which are lacking in the free version. Given the main advantage of is the dragging and dropping across multi- function panes the limitation of those panes directly impacts its effectiveness. So, if you opt for you will likely end up going for the premium option.  I find the pricing rather steep, given competitors such as Todoist are in the region of $29/year.

The good news though is that offers a trial version of the premium version so you can evaluate if it fits your needs before committing. Here are direct links to get for IOS and for Android. You can also get a Chrome plug in. Review Summary

So, what kind of punter would be interested in

So, what kind of punter would be interested in The likely profile would be,

  • Used for small business application
  • Likely distributed teams
  • Big fans of the Google ecosystem
  • Have access to a big monitor to fully utilise the multiple panes

So, we are talking more about professional applications than for remembering what you need to buy at the supermarket. If your professional applications already utilise Google services, then would likely be a good compliment to that. It does not offer a comprehensive feature set but if you are the kind of person who prefers pen and paper for task tracking this will be a relatively comfortable migration. Additionally, if you are a big fan of nested task lists this is one of the few multi-level nested list apps that offers such cross platform capability.

If you don’t tick these boxes, especially if you are seeking a personal productivity solution where daily scheduling and Google Drive access is not a must, then the panes features would likely be superfluous for you. The other main disadvantage I have observed is the lack of finesse in the mobile version. But, this is actively being developed so stay tuned for improvements!

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Brendan Toner

Let me welcome you to this alcove of the internet. In this little productivity blog, I detail the trials and tribulations of trying to use my time more effectively utilising the latest productivity tools and techniques. I hope you enjoy the articles, cheers! Brendan Toner, author of Done Before Brekky

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