Handy little tool
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Sunrise: a handy little tool

While there’s lots of ground-breaking technology happening right now, sometimes it’s the little things that catch my attention.

I sign up for all sorts of new web things.  If it’s in beta, I usually want an invite.  I like testing things out as they come along, and I suspect that you may also enjoy tinkering with new services.  However, I have to admit that I simply opt out or ignore the vast majority after the first or second interaction.  Most fail to prove their worth to me quickly and, as a result, I sweep them off my virtual table pretty quickly.

A new(ish) service, called Sunrise, is not one of those.  I have found it simple, and simplifying.  What does it do? It collates.  It takes all of my events and birthdays from Facebook and of the events from the various Google Calendars I have (or have viewing privileges for) and emails them to me every morning.  All of my daily stuff in one, easy-to-read email.  It doesn’t slice or dice, but it does more:

  • It adds in weather icons for my location, throughout the day
  • It organizes everything chronologically, with all-day events at the top
  • It adds Facebook profile pics for events that are for other people (e.g., like seeing a picture of my boss next to the listing for his meeting), so it’s easy to scan
  • The events are even color-coded to match the color-coding of my Google calendars
  • You can click on people’s names to get more information about them; Sunrise also pulls from LinkedIn.
  • It can pull in from more than one Google account, and from EventBrite as well, although I haven’t needed these features myself.

It’s not a complicated service, and it’s not meant to be.  On more than one occasion, it has reminded me of birthdays and events that I had forgotten about.  I love having it show up in my mailbox each morning.

Here’s a shot of today’s, the subject line of which was “Thursday, January 10 – 7 events and 2 birthdays.”

part one of Sunrise email
The first 2 events are actually from the Google calendars of my coworkers.


Part 2 of the Sunrise email screenshot.
I don’t have any evening events today, but it shows a weather icon. And 2 Facebook friends have birthdays.

What does this mean to me, Laura?

  • Sunrise doesn’t try to do a lot:  it does one thing, well.  It collates information you may have scattered across Facebook and Google calendars.  It emails the results daily:  I usually receive mine before 7 am Eastern.
  • In my POW, we share a bunch of Google calendars: our individual ones, and ones for the office as a whole.  If you share Google calendars with your coworkers and/or a spouse (like I do), this tool can really make things easier by mailing you only what’s going on for today.

Post in the comments:  is this something that you would use?  Why or why not?

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