Companies are actively looking for Microsoft Office alternatives such as Google Apps, but so far their interest hasn't dented the productivity suite's dominance, a Forrester Research study released today said.
"Adoption of alternatives relative to Microsoft Office is paltry, but interest remains high, with more than a quarter of companies actively looking at or experimenting with Web-based alternatives," Forrester said in the study. "While the free versions of these programs make it easy for companies to try, concerns over user acceptance and compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats continue to hinder broader deployments."
Xobni, the popular and highly rated plugin for Microsoft Outlook has today announced the Xobni Gadget Platform and Store, which offers apps that add on to your add-on. With close to 20 big-name partners, including Dropbox, Evernote, Google Translate, Salesforce, LinkedIn, and so on, Xobni hopes to boost your productivity by souping up your Outlook inbox to yet another level.
To give you an idea of some of the platform's possibilities, the Evernote gadget puts the popular note-taking service's functionality into the Xobni sidebar. With it, you can view and take personal notes on a contact right from … Read more
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--AwayFind has been around for a while. It's a clever e-mail helper that will alert you on your mobile if you get an e-mail that's important enough to merit an interruption. But it's based on rules: You tell the service that e-mails from your boss are important but only when they're to you alone, and you'll always get a ping when she drops you a personal note. Unfortunately, managing rules gets old. So AwayFind is adding e-mail reading intelligence and sentiment analysis to its filters. The company is trying to build a system that can figure out which e-mails are important enough to break through to you, without requiring you to set up a filter ahead of time.
The first smart filter is coming out soon, AwayFind CEO Jared Goralnick told me today at the 500 Startups Demo Day here. It'll work by watching your online (or Exchange) calendar as well as your e-mail. If you get a message from a person with whom you have a meeting scheduled shortly before the meeting is scheduled to start, AwayFind will forward the message to you, assuming that the e-mail is likely to be about the meeting itself.
Coming soon, the company will be layering in sentiment analysis. It'll read your e-mails for you, and alert you when someone writes you in a certain tone or about a certain topic. Say you want to get alerted when a customer e-mails you with a complaint, for example. That might be a hard rule to write for you and me, but if the algorithm can discern "angry," it could be a very valuable service.
I don't care what the social-network punks say, e-mail isn't dead. But it is overwhelming. Anything that can help people tease out the important e-mails from their overflowing inbox is worth a shot. I'm looking forward to trying this one out. … Read more
Skype in the Classroom, a video networking service for educators worldwide, is officially out of beta, the company said today.
The service, which has been in beta since December, allows educators to collaborate with others around the world over video. The VoIP provider said it developed the service "in response to, and in consultation with, the growing number of teachers using Skype to help their students learn."
To set Skype In the Classroom apart from the company's basic service, teachers can use the tool to find fellow educators who may be teaching on the same topic. It … Read more
Google is getting ready to present "better ads" in messages delivered via its e-mail service.
The Web giant announced today that it intends to serve up fewer but more relevant and useful ads by better predicting which topics appear to be important to each user.
One of the tools that Google plans to use to accomplish this is its Priority Inbox, a feature launched last August that is designed to help clear the clutter from users' inboxes by filtering out e-mail deemed less important, Google said in a support information page:
Sprint and Google announced today deep integration with Google Voice that lets subscribers use their Sprint phone number as a Google Voice number to access the service's features. These include transcribed visual voice mail (manage voice messages as you would your e-mail), call forwarding (calls ring through on your cell phone, home phone, office phone, … Read more
Once again there are reports that the long-rumored free version of MobileMe will arrive in April, some three years after the paid service became generally available and months ahead of initial estimates for when Apple planned to revamp its Web suite.
In a story this morning, blog iLounge cited a person it called a trusted source at a major educational institution as saying that the institution was unable to buy MobileMe subscriptions. Additionally, the source said Apple was planning to release a revamped version of the service as soon as next month. In the interim, Apple is said to be … Read more
Xobni is offering access to the first 100 CNET users who want to try out Xobni for Gmail. Sign up here, using the code XOBNI-CNET100. Once codes run out, you can still add your name for future access.
It's been a while since we've heard from Xobni, the company best known for its Outlook organizer and later, its BlackBerry e-mail add-on. Today, it pops into focus once more, with a new product: an e-mail extension for your Gmail account.
Called Xobni for Gmail, the free, limited private beta is an add-on for Firefox and Chrome that promises to go deeper than Google to bring context to the content of your Gmail account.
With Outlook and BlackBerry, Xobni's value proposition makes perfect sense--search was lacking, and Xobni's ability to pull together names, job titles, phone numbers, Facebook photos, attachments, and conversations surrounding any e-mail address to enter your inbox offers tangible benefits.
But Gmail already offers speedy search and threaded conversations. What does Xobni bring to the table?
More of the same with its organized sidebar capable of gathering supporting contact details taken from the contact's social networking profiles like Facebook and Linked In, as well as more-detailed contact information, and interesting stats about your social network--for instance, how often you speak electronically, and other people you speak with. Clicking a number can launch a Skype call, but Xobni doesn't currently connect with Google Voice.
Business users of corporate Google Accounts will also be able to use Xobni to aggregate contact details. In fact, you can link multiple Gmail accounts if you use Google's e-mail client for personal and work-related messaging.… Read more
The ideas behind Google Wave, a real-time communication technology the Net giant ditched, are making something of a comeback as a collaboration tool in Google Docs and Gmail.
Google announced discussions in Google Docs today, a new ability to automate the communications part of collaborations. Google Docs already let multiple people edit a document at the same time and to append comments to a document, but the discussions feature advances those abilities.
For one thing, comments now can be hidden once they've been addressed, not just deleted, and they can be resurrected if necessary.