TC50: Postbox Takes On Outlook And Mac Mail With Smarter, Faster Email Client

Postbox is desktop email application that includes a host of features that led judge Tim O’Reilly to call it a “personal information management client.” The company presented as part of today’s session on Language & Communication Tools, and comes from an experienced team that includes Scott MacGregor, one of the original developers of Mozilla’s Thunderbird Email client. And as soon as I get an invite, I’ll be installing it.

The first major change that Postbox brings to the space is an improved media search engine. Instead of having to browse through messages to find attachments, users can view all images or documents as thumbnails, making it easy to find the files you’re looking for. Text and URL searches have also seen improvements as well. Results are displayed in context, so users don’t have to manually open each message to find the message they’re looking for.

Postbox also includes full integration with a number of social media and reference sites. Users can use the client’s right sidebar to quickly search for media, addresses, and webpage across the web from sites including Yahoo Local, Wikipedia, and LinkedIn. For example, I could search for “Michael Arrington” in the Flickr image search, see the results in the client’s sidebar, and drag a photo into one of my Email messages without leaving the client. The application also allows users to post to these services, without having to provide their private credentials.

Perhaps the most exciting new feature in Postbox (and the reason why I’ll be downloading the application as soon as possible) is its ability to sort conversations and create a dynamically updated address book. After tagging a message, the system is smart enough to apply the same tag to all further messages within the conversation – no more tagging messages one by one as they come in. The service can also use your social networks to assign information to each of your contacts. Xobni, a plugin that launched last year at TechCrunch40, has similar functionality, but it’s still only available for Outlook – the Postbox client will be available for Mac and Windows.

Click here to watch the video of Postbox’s presentation.


Josh Kopelman – I had a few questions. Do you support POP, IMAP, Blackberry exchange?

Postbox – We’re commited to supported open standards when possible. Working towards beta.. (still hasn’t answered the question..).

Jason Calacanis – Yes or no?

Postbox – IMAP POP SMTP… All supported

Tim O’Reilly- If this wroks, I find it very attactive. How far have you pushed it scalewise.. I have all these thousands of email messages..

Postbox – We’ve scaled it interally, with message sets around 10,000 messages, worked well. We’ve also used it with 30k messages and it performed.

Tim O’Reilly – Are you shredding this into XML?

Postbox – We’re based on SQL Lite

Evan Williams- Is the slick UI enough to combat massive move from desktop to web based email?

Postbox -People are approaching from a different way. We can do everything we showed you and protect privacy, because you don’t have to pass credentials. We anticipate helping people add new services. We view this is sort of an information hub.

Tim O’Reilly -This is not so much an email client as much as a personal information management client. this like picorp that was acquired by VMware, basically their initial product vision is exactly what they’ve built.

Om Malik – I dont have gmail.. I think gmail is very convienient, there are many plugins that do the same thing as what you’re doing ion the browser. How do you get paid for it?

Postbox – Service neutrality.. if you’re using email service on Yahoo, they want to do interesting things in email as well, but they direct you back to your properties, same thing with gmail. We let you pull from multiple accounts, you control destinaty of the data. The business model. We believe that connecting email content to online services is key difertiator, once we direct content to other seri cces, thre’s opportunity there. there’s vertical opportunies with busines verticals

Jason Calacanis:
Who here would download this?

*Half audience raises hands*