Email, the new / old social network

  1 m, 35 s
So despite what some commentators would have us believe it doesn’t seem that email is going to disappear from the world anytime soon. I mean whenever we have to sign up for some funky new Web 2.0 service, what is the one piece of information that you are certain to have to give - yep that’s right, an email address icon_smileContained within your email is also the original social network, with your entire network of contacts just waiting to be leveraged from within your address book. This of course is why so many social networking sites offer facilities to import them in the first place. However up until now its not really been possible to leverage this network from inside your email itself. Enter Xobni (that’s Inbox backward) who want to

“take back” the email inbox for our users. Basically its a plug-in for Outlook that creates a sidebar that automatically tracks contacts and organizes emails into fully searchable threaded conversations linked back to those people. It also gives you some interesting information such as who your top posters are, basic contact information and most interestingly, the people they’re connected to (the email “social graph”). They have also done a fantastic job of getting acceptance by Microsoft themselves, with no less a person than Bill Gates demoing the product at the Office Development Conference this year and saying

“Xobni - it’s actually the word inbox spelled backwards: This is where someone has come into Outlook and decided to add value. “You look over there to the right, that’s their unique display area. They help you understand how you communicate, what groups of people you work with.” So all this suggests to me, that with a slight tweaking of our existing email clients, they not only fulfil the promise of social networks but with some additional functionality (post sentiment graphs anyone?) exceed them.