Ed. Note: We have 250 free Xoopit invites for Rev2 readers! Head over to this link and enter “Rev2” as your invite code.
San Francisco-based Xoopit unveiled in a private beta this morning, also announcing a $5 million Series A round led by Accel Capital. The startup aims to convert your inbox — a simple and traditionally unaltered form of communication — into a more exciting and usefully presented social network (though what it really is, is better e-mail.)
The service works in three forms. With your Gmail account, iGoogle homepage, or directly on the web. The signup process consists of entering your Gmail account information (currently the only e-mail service supported) and installing the plugin — a cool thing about this being that your e-mail login (e.g. Gmail) IS your Xoopit login. Meanwhile, Xoopit spends a few minutes excavating “precious photos, videos, and files” from your inbox. In my case, it must’ve taken around an hour so.
With the e-mail excavated and plugin installed, heading to your Gmail inbox reveals a whole new kind of dimension to your e-mail — a Gmail 2.0 or rather what Gmail could be in the next three years. A top bar gives you an expandable line of thumbnail previews of the latest Photos, Videos, and Files in your inbox, which you can search through, as well. Clicking on the respective links takes you to a more deeper view — for example, in the same way that your inbox hows you the conversations you’ve recently exchanged, clicking on “Files” shows you an inbox-like view of all your recently received files, same with “Photos” for photos, etc.
This in itself is a really useful way of getting a grip on the contents on your inbox and seperating out an e-mail from its contents, but that’s not where it ends. Heading to Xoopit’s own website and logging in reveals a full-fledged social network with the whole Facebook-style News Feed of your recent items, but produced without you or anyone else having to take a single action.
For example, I can see that recently, I’ve been sent 10 photos by my mother, 3 files by a college, 3 photos by a PR person, an .RTF “FYI” receipt from a recent order I made online, and so on. To be honest, this is the most dynamic, useful view of my e-mail that I’ve ever witnessed. Listed under “People” (friends list) are all my contacts with whom I’ve recently been in touch with, and clicking under the name I’m able to browse through tabs to see the stuff they’ve sent to me recently.
Xoopit is starting small, but I can without a doubt say they’re onto something. If this kind of presentation and interaction isn’t the future of e-mail, then I’m not sure what is. Frankly, I’m surprised no one’s thought of this idea before — it seems obvious after Xoopit that social networks have undoubtedly mastered the “here’s your life” user interface, and there is a whole world to conquer with e-mail in this respect. I certainly hope with their $5 million round they’re able to get somewhere with this concept, because this is how I want to live through my e-mail, darnit!