Threadsy's Universal Inbox Enters Public Beta

Like a lot of web workers, I have way too many email and social network accounts. Threadsy, which has now entered public beta, aims to put them all in one place. I hadn’t tried Threadsy in a while, and was pleasantly surprised at how polished it has become.

Threadsy supports email accounts, including IMAP, Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo, Windows Live/MSN, AOL and MobileMe, as well as Facebook and multiple Twitter accounts. Once authorized (using OAuth or Facebook Connect, so you don’t have to give Threadsy your passwords), updates and messages from these accounts appear in a unified inbox.

When Doriano wrote about it back in December, he noted that it took a while to start up; that issue seems to have been resolved. After login, Threadsy displays an amusing quote or an item from their Twitter feed for a few seconds, then loads Threadsy’s main screen.

In the main screen, you’ll see your inbox on the left, and a social network feed on the right. Threadsy also provides access to Facebook Chat, AIM, MySpace IM, Google Talk and Twitter through the included Meebo Bar. I was concerned that having that much information on one page might lead to overload, but I didn’t find it so.

Threadsy’s email functions work well and searches are fast. You can also view Gmail’s labels/folders. It manages attachments reasonably well, although it doesn’t display PDFs inline the way Apple Mail and Gmail can. You can also print messages, but they include a large Threadsy image in the header.

The compose screen is very slick. Just start typing a recipient’s name, and Threadsy will auto-complete the information if the person is in the address book for any of your accounts. You can specify which of your accounts you want to send the message from, and you can attach files. You can’t actually edit your address book, though.

The social network feed in the sidebar is well laid out, and can be resized. It has some nice touches, like an automatic link expander. When one pulls up a message, the sidebar automatically switches to a timeline showing the sender’s latest updates. This is a useful function that Gist also does well.

Threadsy offers help, but everything is pretty intuitive. The service works very well, although I do have a wish-list of features I’d like to see:

  • The ability to control sounds for each account separately, and to change the default sound. I turned off the incoming message sound, since it was chiming very frequently.
  • The ability to edit message signatures, as they automatically include links to one’s networks, along with a prominent “sent from Threadsy” message that can’t be eliminated without turning off signatures entirely.
  • A”view this message in Gmail” option.
  • An option to view full headers and the original message code.
  • Growl notifications.

Threadsy does still have some bugs. For some reason, it keeps failing to authorize my Gmail account, even though Google says that Threadsy has access. And it sometimes doesn’t display embedded YouTube videos from friends’ Facebook status updates. Threadsy isn’t quite ready to be my universal inbox yet, but it’s getting close.

Have you tried Threadsy?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise

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