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Summary:

If email is your main method of communication with your co-workers and clients, it can be impossible to get away from your inbox for even a few minutes. There’s always the danger that something important could land in your email while you’ve got that window closed […]

If email is your main method of communication with your co-workers and clients, it can be impossible to get away from your inbox for even a few minutes. There’s always the danger that something important could land in your email while you’ve got that window closed — something that requires an immediate response. AwayFind offers a way to receive important messages, while leaving your email client closed most of the day.

AwayFind launched over a year ago, but has continued to grow. The service rolled out new features for existing users just in time for the holidays. If you’re an existing user, you can access the  features by migrating your account to the new version, known as Orchant.

New in this version of AwayFind is the ability to determine the criteria for an urgent message. Depending on whether an email falls into the specific categories you choose, you can have a message sent to you by text message, IM or Twitter DM. You can even automatically direct messages to someone else if need be — if, for instance, a client needs help, you can have the message forwarded to technical support without needing to even see the email at all. And if you’re not near your computer, you can even arrange for AwayFind Orchant to call you with a particularly urgent message and read it off to you.

Jared Goralnick, the founder of Awayfind, says that the most important new feature is the tool’s ability to notify you. “If you’re waiting to hear from an important client or are worried your afternoon appointment may cancel, AwayFind can notify right away when they email you. You can receive this notification (including much of the message’s contents) via SMS, IM, Twitter DM, or even via a phone call that will read you the message. As an AwayFind user, you have total control over what messages trigger which notifications…so you can close your inbox and focus on your work or travel in peace.”

You can have AwayFind Orchant notify you whenever you receive an email from a specific person. The same technique also works if an email contains specific keywords, is marked high priority or is sent to a certain number of recipients. If you can narrow down the characteristics of an urgent email, you can have it delivered to your phone, Twitter account or wherever else you are without taking any additional steps.

Another crucial change is the ability to control who receives your auto responder and your AwayFind contact information. If, for instance, there’s a co-worker who already knows your email checking schedule, you can have AwayFind avoid sending him a link to your contact page, which you know he doesn’t need. You can also limit how often your AwayFind message goes out. You can set it to send on a set schedule, so that individuals who send you messages on a regular basis won’t get a link to your AwayFind page every time they send you a message.

If you’re using Gmail, AwayFind Orchant can configure tools like an email signature and an intelligent auto responder, without you having to set up each step. Each part of AwayFind Orchant is put together in such a way as to simplify the process of reading and responding to email, ensuring that you will always receive important messages without facing the distraction of unimportant emails. There are new features in the pipeline, too. Goralnick says, “Next for us is better integration with the most popular ways our users access email — Gmail and Outlook. We want people to be able to manage AwayFind from wherever they already manage email. We also hope to offer native Microsoft Exchange support.”

Have you tried the new AwayFind Orchant? Has it helped you streamline your email process?

  1. Thanks for this writeup, Thursday! You’ve captured our new product well.

    AwayFind Orchant is now in private beta…but the first 50 Web Worker Daily readers who use this promo code (wwd100) can jump right in without having to get on the waitlist:
    https://orchant.awayfind.com/register_user.php?promo_code=wwd100

    If anyone has questions about AwayFind, please feel free to post here and I’ll follow up.

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  2. As a professional voiceover artist, I’ve depended on AwayFind to reduce the time I spend away from the mic or marketing. Now with Orchant, I’ll be slowly getting my agents accustomed to the idea so that some inquiries on rates that I receive via email or from my website can be handled by them directly. Emails about bookings from my agents get through to me right away either via text or by having AwayFind call me. Very cool.

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  3. At RescueTime we’ve seen over and over again that it isn’t shopping, games, or social networks that kill productivity. It’s interruptive communication tools, like IM and email. AwayFind is a outstanding tool to help users focus on work without having to worry that they are missing that important/timely email. I’ve played around a bit with the features and they are pretty amazing.

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  4. [...] customer AwayFind has a great writeup on GigaOm’s Web Worker Daily. The WWD post was also picked up by the New York Times, Salon, and [...]

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  5. [...] customer AwayFind has a great writeup on GigaOm’s Web Worker Daily. The WWD post was also picked up by the New York Times, Salon, and [...]

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  6. [...] Route my business email accounts through a service like AwayFind. I used this a while ago, but haven’t tried it since Thursday wrote about its new features. [...]

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  7. [...] Goralnick, the founder of AwayFind, uses Google Wave to manage his distributed teams. Goralnick decided to use Wave because his teams [...]

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  8. [...] Goralnick, the founder of AwayFind, uses Google Wave to manage his distributed teams. Goralnick decided to use Wave because his teams [...]

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