Home Xobni, Xoopit, Gmail Labs: Inbox Addons Are Getting Hot

Xobni, Xoopit, Gmail Labs: Inbox Addons Are Getting Hot

Earlier this year, we covered the launch of Xobni, an inbox add-on for Microsoft Outlook. This application is designed to tap into the hidden social network everyone uses: their inbox. More recently, another inbox addon called Xoopit came onto the scene. This one is for your Gmail inbox and provides a way to find files, photos, videos…and people, although that feature is not as obvious. Both of these applications are extending the possibilities of the inbox while turning them into hubs for for our real-life social connections.


Xobni, a company obviously catering to business users, have, as of today, launched a new version of their Outlook plugin. Needless to say, the Xobni team really knows their audience because this new version is offering built-in support for LinkedIn, the social network designed for business use.

With the new LinkedIn integration, Xobni now automatically shows a contact’s current employer, job title, link to their LinkedIn profile, and contact photo in the app’s sidebar. This is especially helpful for those who receive a lot of email from new contacts or have a hard time putting a face to name. Along with the LinkedIn support, Xobni still offers their core features – fast people and attachment search, threaded conversations, and automatic contact profiles.

Download Xobni


Depending on how comfortable you are handling over your email login information, you may find Xoopit either a major security risk or one of the more useful web applications you’ve seen in a long time. Marshall has argued that Xoopit is proof that Gmail needs a better API, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and use Xoopit anyway because…well…finding attachments is hard.

The service, which came out of private beta just last week, offers a Gmail plugin that lets you search your inbox for photos, videos, and files – all of which are accessible with one click from the new toolbar added to the top of your Gmail inbox. You can also use the addon to find photos, videos, or files sent you by a specific person, and, as you type their name in the box provided, Xoopit helpfully auto-completes the entry.

On the Xoopit homepage, things get a little more interesting. Here, the latest items from your email display in a familiar lifestream-like view that practically has you looking for the “like” button. To the side of the screen, the people who send you the most items are listed and linked to – and those results may surprise you, bringing new insight into what’s really going on in your inbox. (Forwarders of chain emails be warned – you’ve been identified!)

At the time of launch, the Xoopit addon, which is available as a Firefox plugin, did not support Firefox 3, but over the weekend, the Xoopit team added that support, which now makes it worth a download…at least for those who aren’t too security conscious.

Download Xoopit

For a demo of Xoopit, you can check out this video:

Upgrading the Inbox

Considering how much of our days, if not our lives, are spent dealing with the non-stop influx of email, it’s nice to see some applications that are helping us make our inboxes more efficient while also mining them for important data. Microsoft Outlook, due to its nature of being desktop software, has always lent itself to the addition of plugins – even social ones like OutSync (facebook/Outlook sync) – but the idea of adding plugins to our web inboxes is still relatively new territory.

Because so many people use Gmail, we’ve seen the innovation begin there. First there was Gina Trapani’s Better Gmail Firefox plugin, which arose from a collection of Greasemonkey scripts. Then even Google’s Gmail team got in on the act earlier this month with their launch of Gmail Labs, the experimental features you can enable from your “Settings” page. Although some of those features are certainly less useful than others, the fact that Google is also hopping into the inbox addon game means there is definitely growing interest in this area (and say what you want – those “superstars” are really helpful).

Hopefully, the growth in this area will continue and we’ll soon find that Google Labs, Xobni, and Xoopit were just the forerunners of the upgraded inbox trend.

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