Email is essential to so many people and companies. Yet, email can easily become a burden or hindrance. If you are like me, you get 40+ emails a day that are legitimate and need attention. Most of these are clients and I must keep track of these emails. But, I get so many that sometimes it is hard to find and organize these emails. In steps Xobni to the rescue. Xobni is ‘inbox’ spelled backwards which is fitting as their goal is to “take back email”. Xobni is a Ycombinator funded project who has also taken additional funding from other firms and angels. The company is co-founded by Adam Smith (CEO) and Matt Brezina.
As of right now, Xobni is a plugin for Outlook, but I hear they will be releasing it for platforms as well. Since I am an avid Outlook user (I know booo hisss), I was happy to find this out. Xonbi runs as a side pane in Outlook and also has a menu item added to Outlook. The integration of the plugin looks pretty smooth.
Xobni creates a profile for ever person who sends you an email. This is where the core functionality of Xobni is. Each profile contains relationship statistics, contact information, related people, threaded conversations, shared attachments, and lightening fast search. Below we will talk about each feature.
Relationship Statistics – Xobni creates a graph which depicts when emails were received from this user. This allows you to see when might be a good time to try to contact this person. You also are able to see how many incoming messages and how many outgoing messages are associated with this user. The user is then ranked by number based on how much email is sent and received from them.
Contact Information -Xobni automatically extracts phone numbers from emails and associates it with this user. If you do not trust that this number is correct, you can mouse over it to see the email in which it came from. From this section you can also schedule time (I am assuming appointments or meetings) with this person.
Related People – The company believes there is a hidden social network to email. I can see where they are coming from and slightly agree. Xobni will analyze emails between yourself and your contact to find other contacts you two have in common. Clicking on a name in the related people list will show you that person’s profile.
Threaded Conversations – Xobni allows you to quickly find past conversations using a threaded conversation system. It lists these conversations as a title on a single line. Clicking one of the entries on this will show you all emails associated to this conversation. From this view, you can open an individual email and reply, forward, or open the email in Outlook.
Shared Attachments – One of the most frustrating things for me is finding attachments in a list of emails. Xobni makes this much easier. It attaches all files sent from this user in a section for easy review. You can quickly open this attachment and also see which email it was associated with.
Search – I will say Outlook’s search feature is horrible. It takes forever to find the email I want and usually finds way more emails than I thought possible. Searching in Xobni does indeed look lightening fast. The search box is always present at the top of the plugin and when you type information, the search results update in real time. It breaks down the results by people and emails. Clicking on a person’s name will take you to their profile page.
There are some more features to Xobni that are cool, but maybe not quite useful like email anayltics. I am not sure I really need to know a detailed analysis of my email habits. Maybe you do- I don’t know.
Overall Xobni looks IMPRESSIVE! As a person who uses Outlook probably 2+ hours a day, I can definitely see the benefits to this plugin. In fact, not having an Outlook alternative is one of the main reasons why I will not switch to a Mac. Anyways, if you are an email user who sometimes lets things fall through the cracks, check out Xobni and take back your inbox.