Home Xobni: Social Network in Your Inbox

Xobni: Social Network in Your Inbox

Xobni(that’s inbox backwards – cute!) is the next big idea in productivity enhancements for your inbox. The Xobni software is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook that offers email management and quick access to important information in your email. But more than that, Xobni claims to “expose the hidden social network” in your email. That’s ingenious because everyone I know is in my email…somehow, somewhere…but they may or may not be my friend on MySpace, Facebook, flickr, YouTube, etc. This is especially true for my family members over 40!

UPDATE: ReadWriteWeb has just received 50 beta accounts to Xobni. Enter the invite code “RWW” at www.xobni.com/download to get instant access to the download of Xobni Insight.

Xobni taps into email’s hidden social network by creating information-rich profiles out of every person you have ever corresponded with by mining your email for information about them.

The Xobni software has several features, including fast email search, email analytics, automatic phone number discovery, threaded conversations, and more.

The email search is fast and begins finding the people and/or emails you’re looking for as you type. A search for a contact will pull up their profile and every email where you two have corresponded…in 0.3 seconds!

A Xobni profile is created for every person you’ve emailed with and is displayed on the right side of Microsoft Outlook inside the Xobni sidebar. Each profile displays relationship statistics, contact information, related people, threaded conversations, shared attachments, and the author of the message you are currently looking at.

The relationship statistics show things like the time of day when you receive emails from the contact, the balance of incoming and outgoing messages, and the person’s rank out of all of your contacts. These statistics are created by Xobni’s powerful analytics engine, which can also be accessed from a menu option to further analyze your email habits with numbers, charts, and graphs.

A contact’s phone number is displayed in the Xobni sidebar by automatically extracting that information from your emails. This way, you can see someone’s phone number even if you’ve never actually entered them into your Outlook contacts. If you hover over the phone icon next to the number, you can see the text of the email from which their phone number was extracted.

Further down, the related people section shows other people who are connected to that person in some way, exposing your shared friends as well as your contacts relationships to each other. Clicking on the name of one of the “related people” will take you to their profile in the Xobni sidebar.

Beneath the related people pane, a recent conversations area shows your most recent previous correspondence with that contact. This can be very useful to help jog your memory when replying to a new email, as you can quickly recall what had already been said. It can also save you time because you never have to navigate away from the current conversation to locate previous emails. The conversations are listed by date, and by clicking on them, you can then view the emails themselves. You can also reply or forward one of those emails right in the Xobni sidebar, or you can choose to open the email in Outlook. Attachments they’ve sent you or you’ve sent them are underneath the conversations area, again saving you from having to navigate away from the current conversation to find the email with the attachment you need.

Xobni also helps with scheduling. It displays your appointments, schedule, and to-do list, and in the Xobni sidebar, there is a “Schedule Time” link below each contact. Clicking this link opens up a pre-composed email with your availability. This saves you time as you don’t need to check your calendar every time you need to schedule a meeting. Xobni knows when you have an opening. Another interesting feature is that Xobni also automatically identifies people you’ve lost touch with by looking at the dates of your last correspondence with them.

Outlook is Only the Beginning

Although currently for Microsoft Outlook only, Xobni’s blog hints that this may just be the beginning by calling Outlook “the first platform we’ve integrated with.” They said they chose Outlook because it is used by 350 million people, but they also say that they “don’t want to force our users to change email clients or social networks to use Xobni. Our software seamlessly integrates with the environments and systems that you already use to communicate and build relationships.” This makes me think that we will see integration with more platforms in the future.

Xobni’s brilliance is in providing you with a true social network filled with information that can help you stay productive and get things done. It will never replace the fun of building a customized profile page on a social network like Facebook or MySpace, but it uncovers the network already present in what is perhaps the main area of your life where you communicate and build the most relationships. This makes Xobni not just useful, but one of those, “how did I ever live without it” kind of things.

Xobni is currently in an invite-only beta, but you can sign up to try it here.

UPDATE: ReadWriteWeb has just received 50 beta accounts to Xobni. Enter the invite code “RWW” at www.xobni.com/download to get instant access to the download of Xobni Insight.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.