There’s no shortage of apps for iOS and Android that aspire to be your personal assistant — a faithful helper that can manage your calendar, keep track of receipts and deliveries and generally make your life easier without you having to ask for help. But in terms of the sheer quantity of things it can do, one such assistant is clearly the most hyper-ambitious of the bunch: EasilyDo.
Today, the company is announcing version 3.0 of its app for iPhone and Android phones. It sports a cleaned-up interface and even more capabilities than before, and merits your attention if you’re interested in this category of app.
EasilyDo shares certain things in common with a bunch of other assistants without being precisely like any of them. Like Google Now, it’s got an interface organized into little cards, each devoted to a different item: the weather, traffic for your commute, notification of a package delivery. But while Google Now is unabashedly Google-centric in scope — the only e-mail it works with is Gmail, for instance — EasilyDo ties into a bevy of other services as well, including all the major e-mail providers, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Evernote and more.
The app also bears some conceptual resemblance to smart calendars such as Sunrise and Tempo. Instead of incorporating full-blown calendar features of its own, though, it connects to the calendar you’ve already got, so it can do things such as plug in appointments based on invitations it finds in your e-mail. Even if a meeting just gets mentioned in a message rather than sent as a formal calendar invite, EasilyDo can often identify it and ask if you’d like to schedule it.
The more you dig into EasilyDo — past basic features such as estimates of driving time for your commute — the more interesting it gets. Starting with version 3.0, you can set it up to alert you to e-mail that meets certain conditions, such as messages from specific people. You can tell it to send a text message when you leave a particular location after a specified hour, which is a handy way to alert your spouse that you’re on the way home. It can also scan your inbox for e-mails about bills and then remind you to pay them.
The app will even help you remember to send birthday greetings (and, optionally, gift cards) to your pals via Facebook. (Because of Facebook’s rules for third-party apps, it’ll be clear that EasilyDo was involved with your birthday salutations, which may or may not impact how moved your friends are by your thoughtfulness.)
Version 3.0 also adds one feature that’s more about proactive time management than automation: You can now add reminders manually, so they show up along with all of the cards EasilyDo has created on its own. That means that you might be able to use the app as your one and only to-do list.
Most of what EasilyDo does, it does for free. But its creators are introducing a premium plan for the iOS version, at $4.99 a month or $49 a year. It includes bonus features such as the ability to auto-update information about your contacts and merge duplicates; alerts about changes to plane flights akin to what you get from TripIt Pro; faster scanning of your e-mail; and expedited tech support.
EasilyDo does have one issue that the new version doesn’t resolve: It can be overwhelming. It’s hard to get a sense of all of its capabilities without burrowing through menus and options, and the settings — there are gazillions of them, since the app does so much — are broken into two separate sections clustered under different icons, for reasons I don’t understand. The interface remains quirky in spots, and the iPhone version isn’t as consistent with iOS’s conventions as it could be.
I also ran into what seemed to be a bug or two, such as it telling me it couldn’t determine my location even though I’d granted it permission in iOS’s settings to do so.
Still, there’s lots to like here. Among EasilyDo’s countless features is a little counter that tells you how much time you’ve saved by using it. Once you’ve spent some time getting to know the app, I have no doubt that it could, in fact, be a major timesaver.