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Summary:

Xobni, a popular productivity add-on for Outlook, is finally coming to Gmail and Google Apps. It works via a browser plugin that adds a sidebar to Gmail to help you search and manage your contacts while automatically creating profiles for anyone you’ve ever emailed.

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Xobni, the maker of a popular add-on for Microsoft Outlook that provides details about user contacts and faster search, is finally bringing its tool to Gmail and Google Apps.

Xobni for Gmail, which works via a browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox, adds a sidebar to Gmail to help you search and manage your contacts. Like the Outlook version, you can get at-a-glance information about individual contacts, including their name, picture, job title, company and full social network details.

Xobni for Gmail, however, isn’t merely a clone of its Outlook version. For example, it includes unique relationship history tools, suggestions for related contacts whenever you email an existing contact, and a multimedia module to view social updates from people in your network. What’s more, subscribers to the premium Xobni Pro subscribers, which provides access to additional features in the product, will be able to use the Xobni cloud service to sync contacts across Xobni for Outlook, BlackBerry and Gmail, and also across the upcoming Xobni for iPhone and Android (private betas of which will be available shortly).

This all sounds great, but it’s a bit late — to say the least. When Xobni launched its sidebar for Outlook back in 2008, it was a novel idea that attracted a significant number of users. Since then, many useful Xobni-like products, such as Rapportive and MailBrowser, have been released for Gmail. We’ll have to see whether Xobni can tempt Gmail users away from the social CRM tools they currently use. My take? Xobni for Gmail looks polished and offers good features, and I really like the ability to sync contacts across multiple email clients on the desktop and mobile devices using Xobni Pro.

Xobni for Gmail isn’t yet broadly available, but you can request access to the private beta at the Xobni website. We have an invite code for 100 readers to get priority access: Use XOBNI-GO when signing up. The basic Xobni service is free, while Xobni Pro (which provides access to the Xobni cloud service and some additional functionality, such as advanced search and “Spam rescue”) costs $7.99 per month.

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  1. I use Rapportive & like it a lot. No plans to switch.

  2. matt brezina Friday, March 18, 2011

    @dale – you may want to try xobni. xobni has legitimate relationships with partners like linkedin, facebook, salesforce, etc Xobni’s social network data will always be available and trusted unlike some other services that use a 3rd party service called rapleaf to scrape data. There was a huge blow-up about some of these other services online recently http://gigaom.com/2010/10/18/rapleaf-facebook-privacy/

    disclosure: I co-founded xobni

  3. I don’t know much about Xobni or understand what it does, and I can’t tell from this story what value it adds to Gmail. Google contacts can already sync natively across mail clients and mobile devices without any add-ons. Also, Gmail’s spam filter is already awesome, so what does “Spam Rescue” add? Do I really want or need to see full contact details every time I email someone? Maybe it’s the kind of thing that makes sense once you see it.

    1. John, it automatically builds rich profiles about each contact (like links to their business site, social networking accounts, etc) and displays that info in the sidebar

  4. Seems like the path linkedin should be going down actually.

    1. Once LinkedIn IPO’s, it’s probable that they will start acquiring key strategic value-add partners.

  5. I need to try this one. Xobni not only helps you to better organize your email and contacts, but it also tells you everyone in your contact list that has sent an email to each other.

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