I have been using a couple of Outlook plug-ins over the past few months. Xobni, which is rated by some as a must-have (see for example, Xobni: The Super Plugin For Outlook) and the somewhat more retiring Taglocity from Terazen Technology (www.taglocity.com).
They both claim Web 2.0 credentials, but for me Xobni represents what’s bad about Web 2.0 hype while Taglocity roles up its sleeves and changes your life.
On the right is a screenshot from Xobni. I haven’t broken the news to my wife as yet, but she is apparently the 12th most important person in my life (email wise). I still haven’t found a way to see who is number one, but that is the least of my problems.
Don’t like the colour scheme? Tough. Shades of orange, red and purple are here to stay, at least in the current version. However, I guess my biggest issue is that it just doesn’t solve any real problems for me. It has a fast email search, but so does the Vista desktop. It will show me the conversations with a contact, but I am used to just clicking on From column in Outlook to do that. Maybe I haven’t tried hard enough, but I just cannot find anything that it does that makes it a must-have in my book. In fact I had uninstalled it last week and only reinstalled it to get the screenshot shown.
Taglocity, by comparison, I find eminently useful. It has a very unassuming presence in the Outlook user interface, just a tool bar (which Xobni seems to disable during installtion) and a tag line at the bottom of email windows.
The point of Taglocity is to allow you to have threaded conversations with other people, whether they are using Taglocity or not. So if you tag an email and send it to a client, their reply comes back already tagged. Also, Taglocity integrates its tags with Outlook categories, so all of the relevant tools that already exist within Outlook automatically work with the tags.
And there’s more. Taglocity allows me to share my tags (and even my emails if I want) with friends or colleagues. I just create a group on the Taglocity site and invite people to join it. This makes it pretty valuable as a piece of groupware, especially in virtual teams. For example, colleagues of mine at the Intranet Benchmarking Forum are experimenting with Taglocity using a set of around 60 shared tags and so far the results are pretty encouraging.
Taglocity is currently in its version 2.0 beta but seems fairly stable. The plug-in and associated account are still free, but personally I would have no hesitation in paying a reasonable charge for the services offered.
Just off to unintall Xobni (again)…