A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to the private, very secret alpha of Xobni for Gmail. I used to use Xobni for Outlook, but ever since I switched to Gmail I have been sadly Xobni-less. (Never heard of Xobni? Learn more about it, and about my fortunately unfounded fears that the company would be bought by Microsoft, then come on back.)
It has been very hard not to tell people about it, because Xobni is one of those tools that I just love. Today the NDA was lifted and I’m free to blog from the rooftops — or whatever — about how awesome Xobni is. It’s really easy to set up, and then there it is in Gmail, just like it was in Outlook, organizing all my contacts and giving me instant information about them at the click of a mouse. Yay! When I click on an email from someone, the Xobni window opens on the right with a picture of them, their contact information, a graph of my contact frequency with them, information from their LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles or streams, and a helpful list of all the emails we’ve exchanged. Way cool.
Even in the midst of all the Xobni love, there are a few things I would change. (And hey, it’s beta, so I’ll let them know and maybe they’ll change them.) My list of suggestions/observations:
- In Gmail’s threaded view, it’s only possible to see the contact info for whoever happens to be the most recent on a thread. It would be nice to have some way to switch when you click another message in the thread.
- The Xobni pane covers up some Gmail controls that I use (Expand All, Remove Highlighting, that sort of thing) and I don’t know how to get to them now.
- I miss the list of attached documents when looking at a contact’s details.
- I’d like a way to indicate which contacts are me. I’m always my top “top contact” and don’t really need to be :-)
- Twitter and Facebook updates listed in the contact pane sometimes seem pretty old — not the most current ones.
- If there are several photos available for a contact, I’d like to be able to pick the one Xobni uses.
Mostly I’m just so darn tickled to have Xobni back. And best of all, YOU can try it too! Xobni for Gmail is now in beta. Take a look!
Update: Hrm. Link fixed, now you really can try it!