Wednesday 8 July 2015

Microsoft introduces Tossup app to help plan group outings, poll friends

Microsoft introduced a new Android and iPhone app today called Tossup to help users quickly create polls and schedule group events. The new app comes via the Microsoft Garage, which is also responsible for some of Microsoft’s other recent forays into building apps for non-Microsoft platforms.
Tossup allows users to quickly build multi-question polls with contextual information pulled from Bing. Say you’re planning a day at the beach. You could create a poll asking what day works best the group, along with which beach is the best and where to go to lunch before the trip.
You can set up yes-or-no questions, available time slots, restaurant options or create your own options for each poll. The app automatically pulls in ratings, hours and locations for restaurants from Bing.
“Everyone has been through the tedious experience of planning a get-together which results in long email threads or text messages that go on and on without any resolution,” group program manager Ashok Kuppusamy said. “We’ve built an app that helps people in these everyday scenarios.”
However, the whole group needs to download the app before you can set up your next outing with it. There’s an easy way to send a link via SMS or email, but it can be just as hard to get your friends to download a new app as it is to plan the outing via email. An alternative app created as a side project by Microsoft engineers has a web-based portion that doesn’t require a download.
These Garage projects are an example of Microsoft’s broader efforts to change its culture, eliminating bureaucratic hurdles and becoming more nimble.

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