Xobni, a startup that looks to make your inbox a little less chaotic, is well known for walking away from an acquisition offer from Microsoft last year, not long after being publically complimented by Bill Gates. Since then the service has continued to grow, with over 2 million downloads in the last year and an avid user base. But until now, there’s been one big piece of the puzzle missing: a source of revenue. Tonight, Xobni is finally turning the cash-flow spigot to “On” with the release of a new upgrade to Xobni called Xobni Plus, which introduces a number of enhanced search features sure to be welcomed by Xobni faithful.
Xobni Plus has a heavy emphasis on improving search, which is one of the key components the service has always been based around. Users will now be able to craft more advanced search queries, using either a GUI-based ‘query builder’ or Xobni’s own markup language, which lets you manually specify attributes like “attachment=yes” or “from=Jason” (Gmail offers similar search features, and they are very handy once you’ve gotten a hang of them). Other improvements include Xobni’s autosuggest feature, which can use linked Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to pair Email address with full names, as well as the ability to search within your Xobni ‘feeds’ in the sidebar.
Xobni may be calling this a ‘Plus’ version, but pretty much anyone who uses the service with any frequency is probably going to want to upgrade (I’d be surprised if the company puts much effort into adding new features to the free version after this). Xobni is expecting fairly broad uptake by its users, so it’s pricing the upgrade at a modest one-time fee of $29.95. However, the company also has more task-specific “Pro” features in the works that will likely appeal to different segments of their userbase, and it sounds like these will be more expensive (a mobile-only premium product is also in the works, with plans to release it later this summer).