Posted by Jeff Bonforte, CEO
Today, Google announced a brand new developer platform for Gmail called Gmail contextual gadgets. This powerful platform essentially allows developers to build web gadgets that display alongside email messages. If you are a Gmail user, you may have seen these gadgets in the form of YouTube videos, Yelp listings, Flickr previews, or Picasa previews directly below a message that contained links to those services. We can’t wait to build a full-featured Xobni gadget for Gmail, but we’ll save that for later; I’m here to talk about something very big that Xobni is giving developers today…
Bringing Gmail contextual gadgets to Microsoft Outlook
We know better than most the challenges of developing in Outlook. Since our early days, partners and customers have approached us with ideas and hopes for developing in Xobni (hence, Outlook), but didn’t have the resources to build and support a standard Outlook add-in. To address this, a Xobni extension platform has been on the drawing board for a long time. But when we saw the simplicity and power of Google’s new contextual gadget platform, we knew we had to bring it to Outlook immediately. Gmail’s new contextual gadgets platform provides a great alternative for developers looking to reach Outlook’s 600 million users, particularly for developers with more web development skills than desktop software experience.
Today we are releasing a Xobni for Outlook Developer Preview that will allow any developer to test their Gmail contextual gadget in Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010 (32-bit and 64-bit).
Initially, only developers will have access to use and test Xobni’s new platform. Once deployed to users, these new gadgets will appear in Outlook via a horizontal bar at the bottom of messages, which easily expands or contracts, as needed. This is in concert with the current Xobni sidebar in Outlook, that offers lightning-fast search for information and contacts in email. Over the next few weeks, we will work closely with developers to finalize the details for distribution, monetization and placement of these gadgets.
So what’s the next step?