Tungle has launched a beta version of a plug-in, peer-to-peer application that allows users to schedule meetings.

It plugs into calendar applications, while permitting allows users to view blocks of time their contacts are free in order to schedule meetings. The company said that this could help cut down on the back-and-forth that often happens when people try to coordinate meetings.

Currently, Tungle supports only Microsoft Outlook 2003, but it will work with all Outlook versions by the end of April and with Google Calendar in June, while support for IBM's Notes will come later, said Marc Gingras, Tungle's chief executive officer.

Because Tungle is a PC application, Gingras foresees its adoption will be from the ground up, as opposed to prompted by IT departments. Also, initial users are likely to be individuals in small businesses, which usually lack the money to purchase groupware servers, he said.

The company expects Tungle's growth to be viral, given that people will encourage whoever they need to coordinate their schedules with to download it: family members, friends, co-workers, clients and the like.

As a P-to-P network, Tungle doesn't store information on a central server. All data exchanges are encrypted.

Natalia Sawaya, an attorney in a small Montreal law firm, has participated in Tungle's early trial since January and finds the application very useful, particularly for coordinating her schedule with her husband's. "It has made me a lot more efficient when trying to coordinate meetings with people in my life. It's also really easy, simple and intuitive to use," Sawaya said.

Tungle is a free download, although it will have fee-based premium versions as well.

Those interested in Tungle need to sign up for the beta program at Tungle's website. If they're chosen, they will have the right to create a five-person Tungle network. The people beta testers invite are immediately approved to use Tungle, and themselves get the chance to invite five people to their network.