Xobni is a plug-in that’s been around for awhile now. (It’s inbox spelled backwards.) I heard about it a few years ago but never checked it out until recently. I wondered what it had to offer that was better than the Microsoft Outlook Social Connector. You can read the rest of the article to find out why, but the short answer is that the free Xobni has more features than the free Outlook Connectors. Let’s take a look.
Windows Live Messenger
Sharepoint (if you have it)
Microsoft used to have a Twitter link, but it was taken away – don’t know why. As you can see, Xobni offers quite a few more ways to connect with your contacts.
Xobni – connects with…
Besides the social features, with a click you can sort your emails, find attachments from a particular contact and click the icons to check what they’ve been doing in their various social netwworks. There are more features in the paid version (graphic below).
I installed Xobni (free) on a 32-bit machine and it installed just fine. Performance doesn’t seem to be an issue on our home computer. I do like the way Xobni sets and presents my contacts’ information over on the right side with lots of color and clickable icons to switch between different social networking sites. I also like the search box where you can type in a phrase and it will return results instantly. It really does offer more information than the Outlook Social Connector.
Performance Issues – I observed there were quite a few questions in the FAQ dealing with Outlook performance after Xobni installation. They recommend you follow ‘best Outlook practices’, and point out that very large (over 2 GB) mailboxes, could have some performance issues.
I tried installing Xobni on a 64-bit Win 7 laptop and it would not install. I read that some ‘configurations’ of 64-bit windows could have problems. I haven’t tried it on another 64-bit desktop I have yet.
Xobni works with Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010. As far as I know, there is no Mac version.
Premium Xobni ($29.95) Features vs. Free Xobni
During my research, I read that Microsoft tried to buy Xobni, but they couldn’t reach an agreement on price – thus we have Outlook Social Connector. It’s adequate socially since it has both Facebook and My Space. Interestingly, Xobni doesn’t connect with My Space. With OSC, you can click on the envelope icon to look at just emails, the paperclip icon to look at just attachments and switch over to Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace (if your contact is a member of those sites).
From the Support section, it does seem there can be a lot of incompatibilities and possible things that can go wrong. I haven’t decided if I’ll put it on my production machine yet or not – or if I will be able to install it.
Maybe someday Microsoft will buy Xobni