Xobni, a messaging and collaboration tool designed to make finding information in Microsoft Outlook easier, begins offering a paid version of its plug-in. For $29.95 for life, users will get several advanced search features, including the ability to sit through appointments, to and from headers, and other nooks and crannies where data may be hidden within Outlook.
Xobni has seen more than 2 million downloads since it was made available a
year ago, and now the executives behind the Microsoft Outlook search plug-in
feel the tool is ready to go commercial.
, which users have installed for free to help manage the
contacts and various e-mail threads in their Outlook inbox accounts, is now
available in a paid version, Xobni Plus. For a one-time fee of $29.95, users
will receive advanced search tools to help users more easily track down more
e-mails in their in-box haystack.
These new tools were based on customer requests and could make the Xobni
plug-in, which users can download and install in less than a minute, much more
attractive to business users.
Specifically, Xobni Plus includes an advanced search query builder, the
ability to search within calendar appointments, conversations and networks,
support for phrases and Boolean queries, automatic suggestions powered by the
company's Xobni analytics, advanced conversation, and network filtering.
Xobni co-founder Matt Brezina showed off these features to eWEEK in a demo.
When a user types in contact names and search terms, Xobni quickly searches
through the in-box to find references to companies, such as Google and
Query results appear before the user completes typing in a
contact name in the Outlook "To" header, a testament to the auto-suggestion capabilities in the software.
Unlike a search engine, users don't need to hit the Enter key to find search
results; they appear with each keystroke. The new advanced search tab allows
users to search "To" and "From" headers.
Brezina stressed that Xobni isn't forcing users to upgrade to Plus. Existing
users who opt to stick with the company's free service will not lose any of the
current functionality, which includes people and attachment search; automatic
contact profiles; a threaded view
of e-mail conversations; analytics; and
integration with Yahoo Mail, Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype.
People using the free version of Xobni can upgrade instantly to Xobni Plus
from within the software with no new download or installation. The upgrade
option appears as a button in the bottom Xobni toolbar within Outlook. Xobni
also tries to point users to Xobni Plus; if a Xobni user clicks on the
appointments feature above the bottom toolbar, they will receive an invite to subscribe
to Xobni Plus.
The tool could be a valuable weapon against information overload, which
tends to burden most business workers who use Outlook as part of their daily
messaging and collaboration tools.
According to research firm Basex, a typical worker will receive 93 e-mails
on a daily basis by 2010. This messaging glut, compounded by activity from
social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, makes it hard for
people to manage information in an efficient way.
"Tools such as Xobni Plus have the potential to increase an individual's
efficiency and effectiveness by organizing information in a more natural
manner," Basex CEO Jonathan Spira said,
noting that the information overload problem costs the U.S. economy $900
billion per year in lowered productivity and stifled innovation.
Basex is also leading the charge for Information
Overload Awareness Day
, an effort to call attention to the information
overload issue and how it impacts both individuals and organizations. The
online event is slated to begin at 11 a.m.
Aug. 12, 2009,
and will include Spira, Xobni's Brezina, and executives from such companies as
Dow Jones and Morgan Stanley as speakers.