Those who’ve tried to organize an outing with friends or family know agreeing on plans can be a challenge. But now there’s a new app – Tossup – that lets everyone make decisions easily while on the go. Tossup is now available to download on iPhone and Android phones in the U.S. and Canada.
Tossup is the latest app released by the Microsoft Garage, which exists to challenge conventional thinking and focuses on experimentation and creating products that people want. Following in the spirit of earlier Garage releases, core engineering teams throughout Microsoft are exploring ideas, testing them and releasing them into the world – with an aim to listen to feedback and always improve. Garage apps like Tossup are made to quickly evolve based on that.
Aiming to advance Microsoft’s mission of helping people achieve more in life and work, Tossup is a lightweight and fast mobile experience that helps groups plan and make decisions by giving them the ability to vote and suggest choices. It’s an ideal tool to make decisions about timing, availability, what to do, nearby venues and spending limits. Information for restaurants is pulled from Bing – opening hours, reviews, addresses, etc. – to help make decisions. To get answers quickly, groups can add a countdown clock, then save the event to their calendars, turning those plans into reality.
But it doesn’t just have to be about planning. People can use Tossup to ask for friends’ opinion on shoes to buy or to find out which team is the favorite to win the Big Game.
Tossup is developed by a group within the Outlook team that is based in Silicon Valley. “We’re creating apps that make it easy and even fun to get more done, both at work and in your personal life,” says Ashok Kuppusamy, a group program manager whose team is focused on building mobile apps. “Take Tossup, for example. 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. We’ve built an app that helps people in these everyday scenarios.”
Tossup has gotten real-world use from early adopters at the University of Washington in Seattle and Santa Clara University in California – as well as through Microsoft employees, their friends and families. Through their constant feedback, the team made numerous adjustments, including building a calendar view and day picker to improve usability. The team is constantly refining the app based on what users want.
“Tossup removes the friction around planning,” says Jennifer Shen, the principal program manager lead whose team built the Tossup app. “It’s really about connecting with people, removing barriers that cause plans to fall through. Our aim is for you to spend more time hanging out with friends rather than coordinating schedules.”
Shen’s favorite part of Tossup is the customization, which gives people the option of uploading their own photos and creating their own questions. She says her team uses the app daily, and recently used it to vote on their next team outing, where they watched robots battle each other as a kickoff to the weekend.
“Tossup is just the beginning,” says Kuppusamy. “The team is looking forward to evolving the app and releasing other apps designed to help people communicate in new ways. We love the challenge of having to earn every user, and you have to do that by making experiences they love to use.”
Leads from the team creating Tossup and other mobile apps: Brian Stucker, Jennifer Shen and Ashok Kuppusamy