One More Thing…

by Jeff Bonforte, CEO

Xobni One on the Whiteboard

Some of you may have noticed that it was about this time last year when we first announced that we would be building Xobni for the BlackBerry (given that we had just added the BlackBerry Partners Fund as an investor, I guess it made sense). We planned to release our BlackBerry product at the end of Summer 2009 (let’s say generously September 2009). In fact, we were ready with a BlackBerry product in September 2009, as planned. Most of the key features you see today were there, and it even had a simple back-end that allowed it to bring data from your Outlook Xobni to your BlackBerry…but we didn’t like it. So we made that ever painful decision not to launch, and went back to the drawing board to fill in the missing parts.

What emerged, the missing piece that we needed to make the BlackBerry product work as we knew it should, comes to you today as a new service called Xobni One.

We named it Xobni One because at the core the service takes information from any number of sources and gets them to behave like one. To be clear, Xobni One is not “sync,” as we are not adding and deleting contact data. We keep all data sets, fuse those data sets together for comprehensiveness, and surface the most relevant data at the top. Because volume of contacts is mostly the enemy of today’s address books, they break down unless they are maintained aggressively. Xobni maintains itself through the continuous flow of new information in your inbox, social networks, and now your text and calls.

Let’s consider a specific, but simple example. I might be connected to a personal Gmail account (jeff@gmail.com) on my BlackBerry and an Exchange account with Outlook (jbonforte@xobni.com) at work. Xobni One makes all the people and relationships from both accounts available in both places. So when my sister sent me an email from her new job to my personal Gmail account last week, Xobni for BlackBerry noticed the new email address automatically. Xobni One kicked in and appended the new email subject almost instantly to her profile in my Outlook account (and used the data to slightly change her relationship rank with me). The old email addresses didn’t delete. Even if it is not active, email addresses and phone numbers are an important point of reference to our past communication and related relationships.

My example above might make you wonder about privacy. After all, I just gave an example that crossing information between a work and personal account. But Xobni One is not moving the email message bodies between accounts. We are just moving the relationships, selected contact information and their ranking. The people are portable. The email stays put. Security and privacy are fundamental to us – after all, we have big enterprise customers, too!

The long term power of Xobni One will not be evident to customers from day one. This is partly by design. It is a scalable, powerful system that can today handle relatively simple, yet meaningful tasks of fusing Xobni profile data from your BlackBerry with data from Outlook (or even Outlook to Outlook). But Xobni One is capable of doing much more complicated tasks that we will show in the future. We know people want Xobni for webmail and other smart phones. Xobni One makes these much easier for us to build. We know people want to use Xobni with teams. Xobni One can do that, too.

From the company’s very founding four years ago in a dorm room at MIT, we assumed a future where Xobni would serve customers no matter the app, device or OS. Xobni One is our most significant step in that direction. And by no means is Xobni One the end of our love for Outlook. We will continue to make Xobni for Outlook the best addition on the planet for Outlook and the hundreds of millions people who spend almost 40% of their day there. But today we are excited to give you a glimpse of the future of Xobni and the products we are building.

As always, special thanks to all the amazing support from our customers, and to the great team at Xobni who make all these products come to life.

9 Responses to “One More Thing…”


  1. 1 Anonymous March 19, 2010 at 5:42 am

    I now cant e-mail my own contacts without paying you? Xobni has tan´ken away my contacts and placed them as “suggestions”.
    Why haven’t you got ant place where you can send complains?

  2. 2 Jeff Bonforte March 19, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Dear Anonymous:

    Please visit our support site. It is linked off the top of the page. There you will read that, in fact, none of your contacts are “taken”. This auto-suggest feature only shows additional email addresses you would be seeing if you were using Xobni Plus. Outlook’s AutoComplete (which is very poor), continues to show 100% of the results it has. It is just now you are noticing that it often has no results. If you would like to turn off Xobni’s AutoSuggest feature, you can do so in the options. For Plus users, it is the #1 most popular feature. You should give it a try with one of our free Plus trials. I think you will love it.

  3. 3 Ron March 21, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    on the enterpise side it would be great to see integration with MS CRM so Xobni (or Xobni One- the architecture is not clear yet) pulls in information from that source and shows it in the pane. Another “nice to have” is a Windows Mobile client. These features will help keep you ahead of the social networking features coming in Outlook.

  4. 4 Daniel Reynolds March 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Two things I would like to see before I buy your product.
    1) User Fields 1-4 need to be able to sync between my BB and outlook using enterprise.
    2) I need a good email follow up. Meaning, I need to know when a customer hasn’t returned my email within so many days. I also need it to be better than what Sperry Software is offering. With Sperry Software, I have to do too many steps to view and email clients that have not emailed me back.

  5. 5 Matt Ranlett March 24, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Any chance we’ll see something for the iPhone?

  6. 7 Jeff Bonforte March 24, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Daniel:

    Good ideas. We will add these to the feature requests lists. Just maybe we can come up with even better solutions for these problems :)

  7. 8 Gary Gordon April 2, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Will Xobni work on a terminal server? We have 5-6 users who all conect to the same terminal server, and would like to use Xobni.

  8. 9 Rylan Henriques June 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Hi,

    I’m very keen on getting Xobni Plus, it seems fantastic. However, I’m a student (thus perpetually tottering on the brink of abject poverty), and was wondering if you kind folk at Xobni were considering/would consider offering a student discount of sorts? I use your free version right now, but I would honestly love to use the AutoComplete you offer in the plus version. Thanks!


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Xobni’s contact management products offer lightning fast email search and organization of your inbox, as well as an innovative and comprehensive address book for the mobile device.

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