Weekend Widget: Xobni

July 26, 2008

XobniYou’re probably saying that Xobni sure does have a weird name. At first glance, it sure does. Now look more closely and reverse the order of the letters. Got it yet? It is inbox spelled backwards.

Once you have the name figured out, you can guess that it probably has something to do with your e-mail and you’re right. It is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook 2003 or 2007 that does a bunch of things that you probably have wished Outlook could do on its own.

I know that I search my Inbox or my sent messages at least once or twice a day. It can take 2-3 minutes before it finishes searching. Xobni provides matches while you are still typing the query. For those of you who have been used to threaded conversations in newsgroups or discussion forums, you’ll find that Xobni keeps track of your conversations with each contact.

Select an e-mail and you’ll immediately find valuable information about the sender in the Xobni panel, shown at right. A perfect example is their phone number so you don’t have to switch out of e-mail and search through your contacts. It will also show you a list of files the two of you have exchanged.

When someone you know sends you an e-mail, they may have copied a number of others on the e-mail. Xobni makes it easy for you to contact someone else on the list. It can even connect to social networks like LinkedIn. Want to schedule a meeting with the person sending an e-mail? Xobni will find the opening for you.

Sounds good, you say, but how much does this thing cost? That’s the best part. It is free! The program is still in beta and that is part of the reason it is free. But the long term plan is to continue offering it for free and to also offer a premium version that does even more for a fee. Given everything that the free version does, I’m really scratching my head at what else it could do. Go ahead and download a copy for yourself! I’m just starting to use it myself and I’m very excited about the possibilities it offers. Once you give it a try, let me know what you think.

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