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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Xobni Brings Internet Into Outlook

Xobni, the popular Outlook plug-in, today released a new version of its product that includes integrations with three leading Web services, Yahoo! Mail, Facebook Platform and Hoover's, as well as significant improvements to its Skype integration. These strategic integrations support Xobni's efforts to make the inbox more useful through their intelligent sidebar and expand on Xobni's June announcement, incorporating key contact information from LinkedIn's massive network of business professionals into the Xobni sidebar.

The integration of Yahoo! Mail is one of the largest scale implementations to date using Yahoo! Mail's APIs and makes it easy for Yahoo! users to preview their Yahoo! Mail messages and search their email and contacts from within Outlook for free. With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, Yahoo! Mail is one of the world's most popular Web mail services, and now Yahoo! Mail users have a solution to preview their messages from Outlook, along with all the benefits and convenience of Xobni.

"This is a terrific use of our open Yahoo! Mail APIs, and we think Outlook users in the workplace will find great value in being able to preview their Web mail from Outlook using the Xobni sidebar. One of our goals in opening up Yahoo! Mail is to make it even more ubiquitous, so that people can access their Web mail from wherever it's most convenient. Ultimately, we think people will become even more engaged with Yahoo! Mail the more easily they can access it," said John Kremer, vice president, Yahoo! Mail.

Each of Xobni's new information providers are leaders in their respective fields--Yahoo! Mail is one of the most popular Web mail services in the world; Facebook is the largest social network in the world; Hoover's provides the broadest set of proprietary, rich insight into worldwide companies, industries and people; and Skype is the leading global internet communications company.

"As inbound communications volume skyrockets, people are getting hammered with messages from social networks, personal email addresses and other Web services," said Matt Brezina, co-founder of Xobni. "These collaborations with leading Web companies are Xobni's latest efforts toward helping people process relevant information about their contacts, stay informed and connected to important people in their network, and quickly take actions on that information."

Each new service is opt-in and brings valuable features into Xobni's Outlook product. Icons for each service appear in an easy toggle format within the Xobni sidebar, so users can decide which services they want to use. New capabilities of Xobni's sidebar include:

  • Yahoo! Mail:
    • A preview of Yahoo! Mail messages is available in Outlook with a link to mail.yahoo.com to respond and send messages
    • All email stored in Yahoo! Mail accounts is fully searchable using Xobni
    • Contacts and attachments from Yahoo! Mail accounts are available within the Xobni sidebar inside Microsoft Outlook
    • The Yahoo! Mail search results now appear seamlessly displayed alongside Outlook email
  • Facebook:
    • Xobni's sidebar uses Facebook's Desktop API to display key Facebook information to keep up with connections, including:
      • Status messages
      • Network information
      • Profile pictures and friends' pictures
      • Recent updates made to Facebook profile (photos and events)
  • Skype:
    • Xobni's sidebar now enables the following Skype functionality from within the sidebar:
      • Send instant messages to other Skype users
      • Skype to Skype calls
      • Low-cost calling to landlines and mobile phone numbers
      • SMS
    • Xobni's sidebar also displays the following:
      • Online status for Skype contacts
      • For non-Skype contacts users will be able to see if their contact is a Skype user
    • Xobni displays senders' company information based on email domain inside the Xobni profile
    • Company information displayed includes the official Hoover's company description, size of the company and headquarters location

As proof that people are looking for a solution to email overload, over 1 million people have downloaded Xobni in the 6 months since its public launch. Xobni's integrations with industry leading data providers are finally pushing email toward the 21st century, which is why Walt Mossberg recently wrote that Xobni makes Outlook "faster and more useful." With Xobni's simple inbox sidebar, 85% of users report spending less time searching for people, contact information, emails and attachments, and more time getting work done. The Radicati Group, an email research firm, estimates that 210 billion emails are sent every day, and predicts that by 2012 that number will grow to 419 billion. This enormous growth in email volume leads to substantial information overload, exactly the problem Xobni is helping people combat.

The new version is available for immediate download.

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