Tag Archives: Xobni

“With Our Powers Combined:Xobni and LinkedIn Join Forces”

A couple months ago, we reviewed Xobni’s Outlook tool, and it has proved an invaluable tool for day-to-day work. Since its already a killer app for us marketing and PR folk who make a living by the volume and management of our contacts, it’s no surprise that Xobni has become even more useful with a LinkedIn integration.

A simple, yet significant, improvement

We also put LinkedIn’s Outlook toolbar to the test. While we still think LinkedIn’s Outlook app is worth it for the grab function alone (makes creating new vCards a breeze), Xobni has engineered a seamless integration that enhances usefulness with the addition of pictures, current job information, and other pertinent tidbits that help make the most of your network.

As a PR pro, I already trust LinkedIn as one way to make sure I have all the right info on my contact, including their geographic location, job title, and place of employment. The volatile nature of the media industry requires that you do your homework before you hit send, and Xobni makes it all the more simple with the addition of LinkedIn’s data.

One thing Chris and I noticed when looking at the toolbar is that sometimes the contact information pulled directly from e-mail conversations isn’t 100% accurate. These inaccuracies have been consistent with Xobni since day one, which is why I tend to ignore the contact field, saving the nuts and bolts contact info for my vCards in Outlook. That said, it would be nice to have a greater level of trust for the information automatically generated by the program.

Another problem is that many people don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet (I know, collective gasp!) and even if they do, they probably don’t take advantage of features such as picture additions. While the integration is clearly useful, it’s not evident on a large scale yet. As LinkedIn and Xobni grow in popularity and scope, these kinds of issues should improve, making an already useful service completely indispensable.

If Xobni, for one reason or another, doesn’t boot up with my Outlook, it’s a crisis. It’s just so easy to find what I need quickly and easily. I really don’t think I could live without it after experiencing its utility.

So GO, download it now if you haven’t already, and join the other savvy marketers and PR pros who are using it to streamline their communications. You won’t regret it

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Contributing writer Marie Williams also blogs at www.flackette.com about PR and agency life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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Filed under Beta breakers, Marketing, Product Review, productivity, Public Relations 2.0

“LinkedIn’s Outlook Toolbar Grabs You By the vCard”

Today’s post was written by contributing writer, Marie Williams.

LinkedIn Logo

Whether Journalist or Public Relations professional, your contacts are your currency. Last month, socialTNT gave TechCrunch40 darling, Xobni, a test spin. This month, the socialTNT BetaBreakers team put popular professional social network LinkedIn‘s Outlook Toolbar through our rigorous testing process.

All You Ever Need to Know: The “Grabbing” Function is Magic

  • By far, the best thing about the toolbar is the “grab” function. It makes it devastatingly simple to transfer contact information seamlessly into your Outlook contact list.
  • How it Works: When you have an e-mail open from the person you want to add, highlight their signature block, click on the little grab button on the top right-hand corner of your menu, and voila! All the contact information is entered in the appropriate boxes. Sometimes fields get switch, such as “company” and “title,” but it’s a small inconvenience that doesn’t detract from the feature’s utility. Check out the screenshots below for a visual:

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  • Just do it: If your contact list is key to your business success, you cannot be without this amazing resource. Go download it. NOW. 🙂

There’s No Place Like LinkedIn Home to Manage Your Networking Savvy

  • Your LinkedIn home page can be easily accessed through your Outlook, and the interface is clean and aesthetically pleasing. It’s easy to track your inbound messages, friend updates, profile views, and all the other features that LinkedIn provides.
  • Bottom Line: If you live and die by your LinkedIn network, you will love how simple it is to manage your connections without ever leaving your inbox.

Don’t Press That Button! The Danger of the Dashboard…

  • The toolbar’s “Dashboard” feature lets you see contacts to invite to LinkedIn, contact information updates for your LinkedIn friends, and keep-in-touch reminders. It’s a hybrid of your e-mail and your LinkedIn account homepage.
  • If you press the button, it takes anywhere from 2-5 minutes to load, which is a long time for us ADD techies accustomed to split second satisfaction.
  • Why you should pass: Xobni’s search function is way more intuitive and lightning fast. The utility of the information on the dashboard is negligible and more easily found via Xobni.

Hello Promo!

Beyond the uber useful grab tool, 85% of the LinkedIn Outlook toolbar is clearly a promotion of LinkedIn’s contact management services and will only work for you if you’re a) already an avid user of the network or b) think you want to start becoming more involved in that community.

That’s a Wrap

Our overall impression is that while Xobni reigns supreme when it comes to inbox add-ons, LinkedIn’s grabbing feature makes it more than worth the download. Think of Xobni as your full-service inbox search solution, while the LinkedIn toolbar provides some “Ah ha!” features you’ll come to rely on. If your a LinkedIn Junkie, download it NOW!

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Filed under Beta breakers, How To, Product Review, productivity, Social Media

“Review: Xobni And The Pursuit of (E-mail) Happiness”

Today’s post was written by Contributing Writer Marie Williams.

Last November, we heard rumblings of a possible game change from both Google and Yahoo that would marry social networking and e-mail into “Inbox 2.0.” Since then, whispers of a revolution have gone quiet. And with a Yahoo merger possibly on the horizon, it remains to be seen when–or if–the concept of Inbox 2.0 will ever see the light of day.

In this age of four hundred Facebook friends and the ever-increasingly crowded inbox, how can you sift through the clutter to find your most important peeps? While we wait for the search giants to figure out Web 2.0, content yourself with the impending promise of Xobni Insight.

Xobni–pronounced Zob-nee or “inbox” spelled backwards for you word wizards–is an Outlook application that wants to help you keep up with all your BFFs. After receiving an invite to the closed Beta, socialTNT decided to take Xobni Insight for a test drive. Here’s our review.

Why Xobni rocks:Xobni screenshot

Snapshot to your (Inbox’s) soul

  • Direct from the widget, you have all your friends’ contact information.
  • Like a true social network, Xobni let’s you see a friends list of shared contacts.
  • Quick and easy access to all of your e-mail threads or files you’ve exchanged in the past.
  • Xobni scrapes your Outlook calendar and puts free time into an organized list, allowing you to send your schedule to any of your friends–very cool!
  • To help you get a better idea of when it’s best to contact your friends, Xobni even graphs times during the day when you most frequently exchange e-mails with each person–sweet!
    • Check out this screenshot (right) of Chris’ Xobni profile. He’s typically active on e-mail in the AM, at noon, and in the late afternoon.

Super search capabilities

  • Need to find a contact quickly? Search their name and you get a Xobni profile and a list of relevant e-mails mentioning and/or from that person.
  • Looking for an email about a certain topic or conversation? Xobni gives you instant access to the top Yahoo Web results, as well as any recent emails with that topic.
  • The best part: The e-mail results highlight the exact portion of those e-mails that is relevant to your query.

Plays Well With Others

  • If you are actively using it, Xobni folds out on the right-hand side of your Outlook. This helps you search and navigate your inbox without a lot of distraction.
  • When minimized, Xobni shows contact info or upcoming calendar appointments relevant to the email you’re viewing.

How Xobni could be even better:

Slow Children at Play
  • After downloading Xobni, we noticed other applications seemed to run quite a bit slower…major bummer when you’re trying to streamline your e-mail flow.
  • We uninstalled and re-downloaded and that seemed to help, but Outlook’s still not as nimble as it should be with the Xobni add-on.
Make It Personal
  • In its current state, you can’t store additional information beyond Xobni’s pre-defined categories. Add a personal e-mail or cell number? Nope. Note their birthday with reminder to send a thoughtful card? Uh-uh. Add notes about an offline-convo? Sorry.
  • User definable fields would add significant value to Xobni’s already helpful service.

Data Checks In, But Never Checks Out

  • Data Portability is a hot topic this year. LinkedIn and Outlook both allow export of contact information. Xobni should, too.

With the rise of social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, e-mail may eventually go the way of the DoDo bird. Be on the lookout for socialTNT’s review of LinkedIn’s Outlook toolbar.

Want a chance to check out Xobni Insight for yourself? socialTNT has some Xobni Insight Beta invites and wants to share. Send an email to marie [at] socialTNT.com and tell us why YOU need Xobni to fulfill your pursuit of e-mail happiness.

Already a guru at the networking game? How do you manage your connections? Let us know in the comments below.

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Filed under Beta breakers, Product Review, Social Networking