Home 30 Boxes Turns One: Review of a Best of Breed Web App

30 Boxes Turns One: Review of a Best of Breed Web App

The 30 Boxes blog celebrated
today the first
of their product launch. The online calendar space has been a tough one,
ever since Google released its calendar app in April last year.
But right from the start 30 Boxes has been recognized
as an innovative app and not just your usual Outlook clone. 30 Boxes takes great pride in
being only 3 people, but managing to not only foot it with giants like Google and Yahoo –
but out-innovate them. I asked one of the 3, Narendra Rocherolle, to tell me about the
user growth and product milestones 30 Boxes experienced in 2006.

Product History and Overview

30 Boxes began as a fun project for 3 people behind Webshots, the online photo app
sold to CNET Networks in 2004. Nick Wilder, Julie Davidson and Narendra Rocherolle
started getting excited about “a way to share schedules and life bits in a way that would
dramatically broaden the notion of a calendar.” 30 Boxes launched 5 February 2006 and
immediately captured the interest of early adopter bloggers and mainstream magazines like
PC World. 

In terms of stats, 30 Boxes currently has 80,000 registered users and gets around
30,000 unique sessions per day. It also has some 50,000 outside RSS feeds under
management. As can be seen from the following chart, a snapshot of 30 Boxes’ stats from
Aug 06 to Feb 07, growth has been steady (the dip was over the holidays):

Product Development over 2006

Here are some of the core technology innovations of 30 Boxes:

  • Natural language parsing and integrated ajax event entry 
  • Shared profile information (a bit like wikipedia) and open web discovery for
  • Permissions and sharing around tags 
  • Remote hosted themes allowing users / developers to control the look and feel of the
    application with css and images on their own local machine or web server

One of the common factors of ‘web 2.0’ apps is that they iterate and release upgrades
frequently. 30 Boxes is certainly proof of that – Narendra told me they have been
releasing upgrades, fixes and enhancements “on nearly a daily basis for the entire year.”
3,504 code changes on 244 unique days, to be exact. Narendra says this has engendered a
loyal and passionate user base. The upgrades include calendar enhancements such as
extensive repeating events, blog badges, myspace badges, drag and drop, rss/ical
syndication, internationalization, web calendars, event import, colored tags, colored
feeds, colored buddies, ongoing improvements to natural language parsing, tag

30 Boxes also has API support, Firefox plugins, OSX widgets, email integration, IM
based interface (IMified), mobile access, a webtop
view, several sync apps in development, and many other things (too many to list here!).
One thing of note is that they are currently developing Facebook integration. 

The main point is that 30 Boxes has been busy developing their product to fit into all
parts of the Web ecosystem. From a user perspective, it’s hard to beat the variety of
calendar functionality that 30 Boxes offers.

Where to next for 30 Boxes?

The company has decided on the following new tagline: “30 Boxes lets you connect with
the people who matter most”. Over 2007 and beyond it will increasingly be targeting the
mainstream demographic in college and “post-college” people. 

As for the competition with Google, 30 Boxes feels that continuing to be the “Best in
Class calendar app” is their strong point. They want to provide “a much broader and
innovative set of features” than the average online calendar, including Google’s, because
they believe that applications that focus on personal organization are “changing
dramatically from the world of Outlook and its derivatives (Yahoo, Google Calendar, et.

It’s that sort of attitude from the 30 Boxes team, as well as the product’s impressive
set of (useful) features, that endears 30 Boxes to me. I tested it out for a while when
it first came out, but I must admit I slid across to Google Calendar in mid-2006 – simply
because it was convenient and integrated with my email app of choice Gmail. But I will be
giving 30 Boxes another shot, after hearing of their goal to be the best-of-breed in online calendars.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.