[Netherlands] InBox2 is a fledging product which attempts to bring together all your input streams (multiple mail accounts, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) into a single master inbox. The company has just launched a Facebook application which gives you access to that Inbox via Facebook.
The release of Google Wave has prompted a lot of discussion on the future of email or the lack thereof. InBox2 was inspired by the insight that people use their inboxes for all kinds of purposes including content sharing – sending themselves or others links or files – and storage. According to InBox2 people have an average of 2.9 email accounts. They communicate with certain contacts mainly via Facebook or Twitter rather than email and they access mail from multiple devices. Ideally, users should be able to filter, label and organise messages, documents and files arriving from all sources on any device.
The InBox2 Facebook application let’s you select email and Twitter accounts. The application pulls all your messages (email, DMs, mentions) and organises them into threads. Documents and other files included in the messages are listed independently as well as being accessible via messages. You can add labels and hide certain people or message sources like Twitter. More services like LinkedIn and Hyves, the biggest dutch social network, should be added soon. Twitter status can be updated and emails sent directly from Facebook. One feature I particularly like is the integration of email and DM alerts into Facebook’s notifications. There are some teething problems – the execution can be flaky at times – but there is definitely potential in the concept.
There are plenty of social media stream aggregation tools but InBox2 concentrates more on email. The most direct competitors in that space seem to be Fuser, Digsby and Zenbe. Fuser is only available in the US and UK. Digsby is a desktop client only. Zenbe already has a desktop and mobile apps as well a Google Wave clone called Shareflow. It’s a subscription service though while web access at least is free with InBox2. Still, Inbox2 has some catching up to do.
By the end of 2009, InBox2 wants to offer a holy trinity of clients: a desktop client and phone applications in addition to the web clients. I have seen screenshots of the desktop client which looks great and has nifty features like previews of file attachments. Once all your input streams are accessible via a single client it’s easy to see the scope for many kinds of value-added features. The phone and desktop clients will be paid applications. The web clients will be ad-supported.