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Xobni for Gmail: Relationships Matter

At left, Xobni for Gmail. At right, the people widget from Gmail

Yesterday Gmail released a new feature that occupies the same real estate as Xobni for Gmail.  This caused some of Gmail’s features to overlap the Xobni sidebar. Our engineers sprang into action and fixed the issue within a few hours. The Xobni sidebar now sits neatly in position and gets you back to goodness. All you need to do is refresh your Gmail page and your Xobni sidebar should be good as new!

This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time a major email client tries to add a little flava to the inbox or another product claims to be the “Xobni for xyz.” Since Xobni for Outlook was introduced in May of 2008, we’ve been saying that it’s the people in the inbox that really matter, not just the messages. It’s nice to see that companies like Google now agree.

Many people have asked us about the differences between what Gmail released and Xobni’s product for Gmail. Here are some of the benefits of using Xobni:

  • Cross-platform freedom: Xobni now has products in Outlook, BlackBerry and Gmail (iPhone and Android coming soon), and we connect all these accounts with Xobni Pro. So if you’re in Gmail, you can access all your Outlook contacts and their information, and vice versa.
  • Comprehensive contact creation: Our automatic address book creates Xobni contacts for everyone you’re ever interacted with in email—across any of your Gmail/Google Apps, Outlook, and BlackBerry platforms. Our feeling is that people don’t manage address books well, in general.  So we’re doing the work for you – and in a way that includes EVERY person, not just the ones you manually add to your address book.
  • Lightning-fast contact search, ranked by who you interact with the most from that account.
  • Rich social profile information from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter gives you a more complete picture of your contacts, including photos, job title, company, updates and tweets. As much as we are huge Gmail fans, not all of us manually add pictures to our Gmail contacts, and not all of our contacts use Gmail.
  • Smart Visual Autosuggest: All of your Xobni contacts, right at your fingertips, ranked by who’s most important to you in the context of that mailbox.
  • Social Autosuggest: Emailing Bob? Immediately add other people you frequently email with Bob right in autosuggest.
  • Relationship History for the long-range view of how you know a contact

Xobni's Relationship History

In short, we are big believers in an open product that crosses platforms, external data and devices—because our real-life relationships don’t live within those boundaries.

If you’re not already using Xobni for Gmail Beta, sign up today. If you live in Outlook or BlackBerry, check out Xobni (free)and Xobni Pro—demonstrated to make you up to 300% more productive in how you manage contacts and email. Looking forward to connecting your smartphone? Get on the free BlackBerry app or sign up for the Android and iPhone alpha.

As always, feedback is welcome: visit our forums or email gmail-beta@xobni.com.

George Says… Let Xobni do your heavy (social) lifting for you

Our new friend George Janczuk first “fell in love with Xobni” when he was a sales consultant for Object Consulting, a software development company in Australia that focuses on large-scale business applications.  He quickly became a power user and spread the Xobni love throughout the organization.

He’s now in a technical management role at Class Super, a company that produces SaaS Administration Systems for Retirement Funds.  His primary means of communication with hundreds of companies and customers is email.  He says “Xobni is a key means by which I tame the Email beast.”  Well said, George!

We noticed the below post in our forum offering up a tip from George and thought we’d share with a broader audience.  Thanks, George! 

George’s (irregular series of) XOBNI TIPS!

by George Janczuk

OK – I *LOVE* Xobni; and over the few years that I have been using it I have picked up a number of TIPS which I would love to share! So… this is the first in a (an irregular) series of “George’s Xobni Tips!”

This one is simple. Do you have a work colleague that you are trying to connect with on your social networks? You maybe have them connected on LinkedIn but not Facebook, and searching facebook seems to be an entirely ineffective exercise…

Well… you can let Xobni do your heavy lifting for you!

These handy steps will definitely lift your success rate:

  1. If that person has multiple contacts in Xobni, consolidate them into one with multiple email addresses,
  2. If you have that user on once social network and not another (e.g. most commonly for me I would have them as a link on LinkedIN but not on Facebook) – then check the social network for which you do have a like to see what email addresses they have listed there. They will often be different to those you have on email correspondence; add these to the consolidated contact as well.
  3. Bring up the contact’s Xobni profile and press the tab for the social network for which you don’t have their profile (e.g. facebook).
  4. Voila – in many cases Xobni will hone in of exactly the right contact – click on the little person silhouette button to open their profile.

The magic on this technique is that is searches directly by email address. I haven’t yet found a way to manually do an email search via the Facebook UI.

Xobni Gadget Hack Day: Success!

Superstar judges and the crowd take in the hacks.

On Monday, we hosted our first Xobni Gadgets Hack.  The hackers were quick, the pizza was awesome (Little Star FTW) and the judges were generous with prizes.  Well, Xobni was generous with prizes, but the judges were generous with their time!

The challenge was for hackers to build gadgets using Xobni’s new OpenSocial-powered platform.  We held this hack event 1 week after the launch of the Xobni Gadget Store (see TechCrunch story here), to allow developers to familiarize themselves with the new platform, which now brings services like WebEx, Evernote, Yammer and Salesforce into Outlook.

In total, we had over 100 attendees, 35 people hacking, 15 hacks submitted for the contest (2 virtually via WebEx), 150 beers consumed and 20 pizzas devoured – all in just 3 hours.  Michael Arrington (TechCrunch), Joseph Smarr (Google), David Lee (SV Angels) and Mark Weitzel (OpenSocial) were the esteemed judges determining the winners and handing out the dough.

Prizes went to Best Overall ($500 or Xoom tablet), Most Useful ($250), Most Creative ($250), Best Crammer ($250 – def: /kram’ mer/ noun – one who crammed a gadget in from start to finish in under 3 hours), and Developer’s Choice (chosen by the crowds via Twitter). Box.net also kicked in another $250 to the best gadget using their APIs.

And the winners are: (drumroll please…)

Cooper Marcus of Wishery with his prize.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it happen!  It was so exciting to see so many smart and creative developers leveraging this platform to integrate their products and services into consumers email workflow, and this is just the beginning.  We’ll work with these developers to see which gadgets might be offered through the Xobni Gadget Store in the future.  We hope to see the Xobni Gadget Store fill up with even more gadgets that improve productivity, add new functionality or just inspire a smile. If you are thinking about a hack or just have a question about the platform, you can always post in the Developer Forum.

To see all photos, go to our Flickr set.

*Photos by Mitch Aidelbaum – http://www.aidelbaum.com/

Introducing the Xobni Gadget Store. Kick your email up a notch with Evernote, Yammer, Salesforce, Chatter, Dropbox, JIRA, WebEx and more.

Xobni Gadget Storeby Josh Jacobson 

Today marks a major milestone for Xobni—and for our customers. You may already have been following the progress of our Xobni Gadget platform, available to developers to seamlessly integrate web-based services into the Xobni for Outlook experience. Having seen incredibly useful and time-saving gadgets created and beta-tested over the past few months, we’re now thrilled to announce the Xobni Gadget Store. Take advantage of direct access to a new world of productive services and applications from a wide range of industry-leading partners (press release).

Web-based document sharing, lead tracking, issue monitoring and editing, note-taking—your inbox is about to get a lot more powerful.  Imagine being able to integrate great services like these right into your Xobni experience (without leaving Outlook):

Now you can choose any of the Xobni Gadgets you want—or the whole batch if you like—for prices ranging from free to only $9.99/year (with 30 day free trial).

We’ve made it easy for you to add Gadgets to Xobni. Just click on over to the Xobni Gadget Store and take your pick of the gadgets available. Then make sure you’re on the latest and greatest version of Xobni for Outlook. That’s version 2.0.1 for Xobni Pro subscribers and free users (most of you), and an updated 1.9.6 for existing Xobni Plus users (release notes).

For enterprises, the Xobni Gadget Platform now makes it easy to create private gadgets based on your existing internal services to help employees become more productive and effective. Xobni Business Solutions customers can deploy their own customized gadgets via the Xobni Enterprise Admin Portal. You can find out more about these programs here.

Today, Xobni Gadgets are available for Xobni for Outlook.  Over the coming months, we’ll be looking at ways to widen the platform to Xobni for Gmail and Xobni mobile as well.

Customers we’ve talked to are pumped up about the new era of Xobni Gadgets, and we hope you are, too. It’s just one more way we can make your inbox the best it can possibly be.

Developers – interested in creating your own gadgets, or just kicking the tires of the platform? Join us on Monday, May 9th, for the Xobni Gadget Hack day (you can start coding now). Hacks will be judged by Michael Arrington and others. Register now for free – limited spots available.  

Xobni for BlackBerry – Major Update

by Rob Barrett (Mobile QA Lead)

Xobni for BlackBerry ended 2010 with a bang and received impressive awards and accolades both from customers and the press. Customer adoption, growth and usage were off the charts. With that came great feedback and recommendations on how to evolve the product for optimal efficiency and productivity, and that is what this release is all about. We have spent countless hours solving the pesky contact management woes.

Thanks to the great feedback from our users, we release Xobni for BlackBerry build 2.0.28. It includes significant user experience and feature updates and as well as some new feature additions from you, our loyal customers.

As always, you can get the latest build from: bb.xobni.comApp WorldMobihandHandangoGetjar and PocketGear (Note: some stores may take a day or so to reflect the update).

Below the list of features and improvements:

New Features/Functionality

  • Free users can now also enjoy the Universal Search functionality (w/ daily limits)
  • Edits in native BB address book now are updated in Xobni
  • A users account is temporarily locked after 5 failed login attempts (when user is logged out)
  • Added a “show password” checkbox on login screen to assist with small keyboard typing
  • Added low memory state manager, to detect when device is low on memory
  • Ability to restart a stopped contact scan due to server issues

UI Updates

  • Edit contact details improvements and refinements
  • Edit recipient screen improvements for composing emails and ability to set cc:, bcc:
  • Xobni Pro icon shown for Pro users in all screens
  • Improvements on forgot password dialog
  •  “Xobni Cloud” now used through app for updating Xobni Cloud
  • Added a loading spinner to the LinkedIn login page for OS 5.0 and higher

Search & Ranking Improvements

  • Search refinements for improved search recall and ranking
  • Improvement to ranking to avoid new contacts from showing up too high in ranking
  • Improvement on phone number parsing for 6.0 devices
  • Merging improvements on initial load
  • Ability to search for suffix titles (e,g: Dr., Mr., etc.)

Bug Fixes & Improvements

  • International character (UTF-8) fix when posting updates, for foreign characters support
  • Improvements and potential fix for email loss on app deletion/install
  • Fix to be able to add Xobni contacts to bcc line
  • Logout and login no longer prompts users to choose email accounts
  • Login screen retry and error handling improvements
  • Speed improvement for LinkedIn and Facebook profile rendering
  • Fix for pictures taken on touchscreen device to be incorrectly rotated
  • Only emails composed from Xobni, have Xobni signature appended (when on)
  • Fix for properly showing the date of a meeting in Xobni for recurring meetings
  • Loading spinner on facebook tab now detects if no profile match was found
  • Fix for handling snooze correctly during initial contact loading & later resume loading
  • Expanding the network section now selects the 1st member in the network
  • Various improvements and fixes

To upgrade to the latest version, simply go to http://bb.xobni.com from your BlackBerry or the store from which you’ve downloaded/purchased our app.

We’d like to thank all of our BlackBerry users for all their feedback, input and suggestions. It has been critical to help us further improve our app, and we’re very grateful!

Enjoy!

The Xobni Mobile Team

Screamin’ Deal on Xobni Pro

Xobni Pro doesn’t go on sale often, so today is your lucky day! AppSumo, a site that offers great deals on web services, is selling Xobni Pro for 1 year for $25 dollars.  For the price of 2 movie tickets (and popcorn, if you want to get exact), you can get all your contacts and email in order.  After all, Spring has sprung, and Xobni can help Spring clean your inbox.  Click here to learn more.

Xobni Pro automatically creates contacts for anyone you’ve ever email, called or SMS’d and makes them instantly searchable.  Every person, phone number, email and file will be available to you in Outlook or on your BlackBerry.  Whenever you need them!

Time is running out – Don’t miss your chance. Buy Xobni Pro now on discount via AppSumo.

Calling all Developers…

SAVE THE DATE 

May 9th (day before Google I/O) – 2 pm – 6 pm, SOMA, SF (two blocks from Google I/O)

Join Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Yelp and give your company a prime spot in the inbox, where users spend 30%+ per day.  We’re making it easy for developers to build an Open Social gadget that will run in Outlook and Google Apps.  That’s right, build once, deploy twice.

Join the fun, build your gadget and drive more engagement and visibility with your brand.  And Bonus: 10 hacks will be selected to present at the event and judged by our celebrity guests: Michael Arrington, David Lee and Joseph Smarr.  Prizes are TBD, but they’ll be good.  😉

Space is limited.  RSVP here – We’ll send the SDK to registered developers in advance of the event so you can maximize your time at the mini hack.

Schedule

2pm – 5 pm – mini hack, beer, pizza, jams, good peeps

5 pm – showcase of hacks; judges Michael Arrington, David Lee and Joseph Smarr

More details coming soon to registered developers.


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About Xobni

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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