After much time, energy, and effort, we've released Beta 2 of our MinutesNotice Facebook application!  MinutesNotice helps users tell friends on Facebook when they are free to do fun things — have dinner, enjoy coffee, play games online, etc.

We've spent the last 4-6 weeks listening to feedback & prioritizing our next steps.  The result is a series of important changes that we think will improve the usability of the application:

  • Private invitations — now you can pick the friends you want to invite to join you in your free time.  Alone in San Francisco?  Let your friends there know when you are free.  Want to go out with just the ladies for happy hour?  You can do that now.

Let's face it… who you do something with is sometimes just as important as what you're doing.  Now you have complete control over your free time.

  • Notifications — this one is really exciting… we are now integrated with SMS & e-mail, and Facebook's notification system.  What does that mean?  Well, now MinutesNotice can send you an update using any of those systems to keep you updated on you & your friends' free time.  It also means that your friends can be notified of when you are free as well!  In the past, friends only found out about your free time if it showed up in the News Feed — which doesn't always happen.  One other point re: notifications… you can also use MinutesNotice to send you an appointment for your calendar if you want to block out your time in Outlook, iCal, or Google Calendar.

This really comes in handy if you aren't logged into your computer, but you need real-time updates.  You can just use MinutesNotice to set when & where you'll be free, and we handle the rest.  No matter where you are, we can let you know when people are free or if they want to join you.  And now we also send you calendar updates in case you manage your social life through your calendar.

  • Subscriptions — concerned about getting too many free time notifications?  You can simply subscribe to the friends you want to hear from… so you'll can keep in touch with your closest friends while you receive private invitations from all your friends.

We know that nobody likes to be spammed.  So we've given you some tools to help you manage who you receive free time notifications from.

Over and above the three major feature enhancements I mentioned above, we've also cleaned up a lot of the UI.  We had some "annoyances" (i.e. not enabling 24 hour time selection, poor usability, only displaying first names in FreeTime, etc.) that we needed to fix.  I suspect we are not quite finished with cleaning up all the UI annoyances just yet, but this version is a lot better than the last.

We know that all of this took us quite a while to put together… but we encountered a few really difficult scenarios that we needed to code around.  We'll explain in a few days when our CTO Robert Starek shares some thoughts on Facebook development using ASP.NET.

In the meantime, we're still in a closed beta.  If you'd like to be invited, please send me an e-mail.  It is back in Beta, so expect an occasional issue here or there.

After another round or two of bug fixes, we will release the app to the general public.