Karly Gaffney is a Manager on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

As someone who is an avid planner, with multiple calendars (shared and private) to manage both personal and business schedules, I spend a significant amount of time updating and maintaining dates and events. This is why I’m pretty excited about today’s launch of Sunrise, a beautifully designed social calendar app. Oh, and it’s free.

Former Foursquare UX designers Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van first launched Sunrise as a daily email service that detailed your online social life in a daily digest emailed to your inbox each morning. Connecting with Facebook, Google Calendar, Eventbrite and LinkedIn, Sunrise’s daily agenda email, provided everything from upcoming meetings to the current weather.

Fast-forward five months, Sunrise boasts 20,000 email subscribers with a 50% open rate. Pierre and Jeremy have since quit Foursquare to focus on Sunrise full-time resulting in today’s launch of the Sunrise calendar app for iPhone. Leveraging the existing social platform connections, Sunrise was designed to make it easier for users to take action when necessary. Users are able to sync the app with multiple Google Calendar accounts, connect to Facebook to view birthdays and events, even connect to LinkedIn to bring in pictures of the people attending those events. For example, if I see it’s a friend’s birthday on my calendar I could post to their Facebook timeline or send them a text message directly through Sunrise.

I love the simplified thinking behind Sunrise. With a tap or a swipe I can see when and where an event is taking place as well as what the weather forecast is for that day (aka what to wear.) Sunrise will certainly help cut back on the time spent on calendar management considering it pulls many of the important details from your connected social channels, plus you can hide the ones least relevant to your day to make the app more manageable.

For those stragglers who have yet to update to iOS 6 because of the maps debacle, you’re out of luck because the update is required to download Sunrise. However, it should be noted that the Google Places API is used for locations, displayed within the app using Apple Maps, and with a tap from the details screen or a swipe on the agenda display the app switches you over to the Google Maps app (if you have it installed.) If you want to give Sunrise a try, check it out at www.sunrise.am

What do you think about Sunrise? Is it a contender for Fantastical and Tempo? Would you be more willing to try it out because it’s free?

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