Yahoo! acquires Xobni, your Yahoo! Mail could be about to get much smarter

Xobni has announced that it has been acquired by Yahoo!, moving out of its San Francisco offices to join Yahoo! over in Sunnyvale, as the company continues to buy up innovative online companies.

We've recently seen Yahoo! redesign Flickr, buy up Tumblr, be rumoured to be interested in Hulu, and yesterday, acquire video storytelling app Qwiki. We've not heard much from Xobni recently and this perhaps explains why.

If you've not heard of Xobni, which is "inbox" backwards, the company first came to our attention in 2008 with its Outlook plugin that was designed to crunch the important data in emails, harvest addresses, compile your contacts and make it much easier to search your email. All this sorts of functions, of course, remain of interest in our busy online lives, so it's easy to see how Xobni's innovative solutions would fit into Yahoo!'s growing portfolio.

The post from Xobni reflects this, saying: "Did you ever meet someone who truly 'gets' you? That's how we feel about Yahoo!. The power within every Xobni product is that it responds to how you communicate. Every day you demonstrate who and what is important to you. That can benefit not just your inbox or smartphone, but the many services you use. Yahoo! gets that, and they want us to use our platform to make many Yahoo! services better for you."

More recently we've seen Xobni branch out into apps for BlackBerry, Android and iOS, as well as offering a sidebar for Gmail to deliver the same sorts of functions, all tied together in Xobni cloud. 

There will be changes to Xobni's services, however, and the company has detailed how this might affect users with an acquisition FAQ. First up, there won't be any service changes for the next year, with Xobni saying that they will support existing customers up to 2 July 2014. However, Xobni is not accepting payments for premium products.

Equally, Xobni apps for BlackBerry and Android are also being withdrawn so can't be downloaded by new customers, but existing users will be supported until 2 July 2014.

If you're a Xobni for Outlook user, you may be prompted to update to a new version shortly, but the company has confirmed that there's no plan to support Outlook 2013.

As for Smartr products for Gmail and iPhone, they will remain available, although there may be changes coming in the future.

The important story, however, will be how Yahoo! integrates the smart features that Xobni offered. At its heart, Xobni was always about making it easier to find the right contact details for the people who were most important to you, pulling together a smart contacts list for you. Xobni was a system that just worked. Hopefully, it will be a system that will just work for Yahoo! too.



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