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Summary:

San Francisco-based start up Xobni has been trying to improve the Outlook and Blackberry email experience for a while now, but today they’re launching their latest contact management platform and related products for Gmail and Android under the brand name Smartr.

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There is no shortage of ways to get in touch with people these days – from Outlook to iPhone and Twitter to LinkedIn — nor any lack of options when it comes to sharing their details or notes on your relationship history. Are you suffering from an excess of communication channels and the general chaos that comes from having dozens of conversations going across them?

Xobni is banking on the fact you are with its launch today of a new product line under the brand Smartr, aiming to bring order to more inboxes. The San Francisco-based startup came out of the Y Combinator program and has been trying to improve the Outlook and Blackberry email experience for a while now (they’re also a sponsor of GigaOM’s Mobilize event going on this week). Their latest contact management apps are for Gmail and Android and are free to download.

Based on a new Smartr platform that allows the products to rank and index your contacts, the new offerings aim to be “easier and more powerful than anything we’ve ever done,” according to CEO Jeff Bonforte (who makes his pitch for the new products in this short video.) So what exactly do they do?

Smartr for Gmail is a sidebar for your email that lets you search you contacts and, once you’ve found the one you’re looking for, pulls up all your past conversations via mail, message and voice, as well as their photo, job details and Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter updates. With one click you can add them to your other social networks.

Smartr for Android smartphones makes your contacts (up to 10,000) searchable and ranks them by importance, providing a complete profile with a photo, job details, email history, common contacts and social network information for each.

A leader in the field of “social CRM,” Xobni is competing with plenty of other companies offering to bring order to your online connections, including Rapportive, Gist and Liaise. But while the Smartr Gmail offering seems to share a lot with Rapportive on the surface, Xobni is highlighting differentiators such as the ability to generate contacts from more sources like Facebook, Android and Blackberry, better search options, and the ability to view profiles for all members of a multi-party conversation simultaneously.

The Smartr launch follows the release of a collection of gadgets to integrate tools such as Yammer, Evernote and Saleforce with users’ Outlook interface earlier this year. But the company remains in a brutally competitive space. One that Bijan Marashi, the co-founder of another email-indexing service, Xoopit, which was acquired by Yahoo!, warned entrepreneurs against, saying “trying to fix consumer email platforms is like trying to fix the phone system — a startup simply can’t afford to do it.” Xobni is obviously not heeding his advice.

Image courtesy of Xobni.

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  1. “passed” should be “past” in the first quote from Jeff Bonforte (me).

    1. Oof, thanks for pointing that out. Fixing.

  2. Tried it out, not impressed. Rapportive does that all for me already.. and the app for android is kinda slow..

  3. You can manage your email accounts and contacts (including Gmail) in one place called outlook.

    If I’d like to see all the conversations I had with a certain person I could just search my outlook inbox or sent items.

    The problem with Gmail is that they don’t combine all your email accounts/contacts and connect them with tasks, docs, notes, bookmarks etc (I haven’t found a plugin for that…).

    We at IQTELL do that, but we’re an independent application. you can try to apply to the beta (it’s free) here – http://iqtell.com/early-beta-user-group/

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