has announced the acquisition of Genee, the Artificial Intelligence powered scheduling service
. Interestingly, the AI scheduling app launched in public beta a year back aiming to provide an end-to-end scheduling service that claimed to plug into any calendar application or email service. In a case study from indicius
, Genee states that it works via email, text or iPhone app to scan the calendars of those invited to meetings or events, automating bookings to rejected invites and meeting confirmations.
How will Microsoft benefit?
The company claims that it will club the productivity app into its Office 365 cloud productivity suite and shut down Genee’s services starting next month. In an official blog
, Rajesh Jha, Corporate Vice President, Outlook and Office 365, Microsoft said that Co-founders Ben Cheung and Charles Lee are planning to join Microsoft. The duo started Genee in 2014 to simplify the time-taking activity of scheduling meetings. Jha claims that the service is especially useful for large groups and for when one does not have access to someone’s calendar. He also went onto saying that the acquisition of Genee will help Microsoft further its ambition to bring intelligence into every digital experience.
In Genee’s company blog
Cheung and Lee stated:
We consider Microsoft to be the leader in personal and enterprise productivity, AI, and virtual assistant technologies, so we look forward to bringing our passion and expertise to a team that is committed to delivering cutting-edge language and intelligence services.
How does Genee work?
Genee uses natural language processing and optimized decision-making algorithms which claims to have an enhanced interactivity which makes the user feel like talking to a human being. For example if one wants to meet a client for lunch and let Genee schedule, one can send an email or an SMS to the client and mark a copy to Genee. The AI service would understand that the user is trying to set up a specific time for a lunch meeting and send the client appropriate time options that work with the user’s calendar and preferences. Genee sends out the meeting invite on the user’s behalf, claiming to make more time for the user.
There are a bunch of pre-defined commands that Genee understands but according to the company, the users can customize and create their own commands for the app to understand. Reportedly, this is not the first calendar productivity app that Microsoft has purchased. Last year the software company bought Sunrise calendaring application for about $100 million and integrated it with Outlook for iOS and Android.