Startup Xobni has generated a good deal of buzz – our parent weblog GigaOm was suitably impressed with an early version. But so far, it’s been tough to get hold of a copy. That’s changed as of today, with the release of their public beta version: if you’re an Outlook user, you can get started with this plugin without even giving them an email address.
Xobni includes enhanced search, a sidebar to track conversations, and social networking tools built right into Outlook. They’ve also mentioned the prospect of building versions for other email clients, though those have not yet appeared.