Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Xobni - a very interesting Outlook tool

I have been kicking the tires on a product called Xobni for the past week or so, and am fascinated by this useful tool. Xobni (inboX backwards) is a "plug-in" to Outlook that integrates seamlessly with Outlook, providing a real-time "dashboard" for Outlook (you can see what it looks like in the video preview at the end of this post).

Xobni provides some very cool capabilities, such as:

  • Very fast email search.

    • It's limited to items in Outlook, but it provides some very robust (and visually clear) search results.

  • Email analytics.

    • I'm a stat geek at heart, so I was jazzed by the reports you can get about your email habits (example graph below - click for larger view).

    • A particularly interesting aspect of their stat function is it ranks your senders based on the volume of email sent and received (and it shows their rank along with the picture form their contact record, if you've got a picture in there).

  • Discover the "network" of people related to your contacts.

    • Xobni analyzes the other people cc'd on your emails to & from others, and gives you a view of the other people in their email network.

  • Quickly see good information about your contacts.

    • Xobni will pull phone numbers out of peoples signature blocks and show them prominently in its sidebar, and will call out people assistants and other useful information.

  • Quick attachment summary.

    • If you can remember who sent an attachment to you, simply click on an email from them, and you'll see a time-sorted list of attachments in one of Xobni's panes - then you click on it to open.

Check out this video walk-through to Xobni - it is pretty amazing. And, in real life, it works just like the video.

Xobni is free (used to be an invite-only beta but it's wide open for a free download now) and supports Outlook 2003 and 2007 on Windows platforms.

I really like this tool, and will keep using it for a while. The only gripes I have are that occasionally slows my system down, and it doesn't fit too well on my laptop because I have a lower resolution display (1024x768) - however, it is easy to collapse or turn off the Xobni pane without impacting the other functions of the product.

If you try it, let me know what you think.