Blog Product Updates, Announcements, & Productivity Insights

AwayFind + SaneBox support = Much Happier Emailing by Jared Feb 22

AwayFind may help you to get away from your email, but the fact remains: you still have to visit your inbox, and that can be a huge timesuck.

Enter SaneBox.AwayFind & Sanebox magic

SaneBox helps you to spend less time in your inbox, and ensure that that time, well…sucks less.  With SaneBox, your inbox only contains the most important messages, with a convenient summary of the rest.  It also makes it easy to “snooze” messages—so they can return to your inbox when you need them..

Today we’d like to announce that AwayFind & SaneBox can work well together, bringing you sanity inside and outside of your inbox.

So what’s new?

In the past, AwayFind only monitored your Inbox for urgent messages.  Now we can monitor your All Mail folder.

Since SaneBox uses multiple folders to organize your mail, and because the All Mail folder aggregates messages from all folders, this means our users can now use SaneBox & AwayFind together.

This also means you can create complex Gmail filters that move messages around…and still get AwayFind alerts for those messages.

To switch your AwayFind monitoring from your Inbox to your All Mail, visit your Email Accounts & Notifications page, and change the “Folder to Monitor” from Inbox to All Mail.  (Note that this only applies to Gmail/Google Apps accounts)

And to sign up for SaneBox and get an awesome $25 coupon toward their Lunch and Dinner plans, click here.

AwayFind’s New Plans Explained by Jared Nov 25

Summary: We are discontinuing our Free Plans for both new and existing users. The market has changed dramatically since we began, and we’re shifting gears to both stay in business and better support our loyal customers.

It’s hard to believe we started working on AwayFind in the beginning of 2008, before there was such a thing as an iOS native app, before Android phones existed, when fewer than 15% of the phones in use had any email access.

It’s obvious to anyone reading this that the mobile and mobile email landscape have changed dramatically. What might not be so apparent are the consistent, incremental improvements that have occurred from the major email providers and smartphone operating systems with regard to managing notifications and processing email.

Just a couple years ago, managing notifications was cumbersome at best. The concept of the Notification Center has matured in not only the mobile operating systems, but on both Windows and Mac OSX. And now all the major webmail providers have some mechanism for separating out a large percentage of email from your primary inbox view.

In the last year, more than 100 companies have launched in the email productivity space. When we entered the market, there were fewer than a dozen SaaS email productivity tools.

Times have changed.

With these changes, our tool is no longer the only way to get emails to your phone, but rather a niche tool for those with high email volume or specialized productivity needs.

In the past, all kinds of people would sign up for our paid plans at a healthy rate, but that’s no longer the case. Now our product supplements tools like iOS VIP and Gmail Important Notifications (free alternatives that offer some of AwayFind’s functionality). As a supplemental tool, most people don’t use enough features to require our paid plans. To make matters worse, many people use (or abuse) AwayFind to get free SMS and Voice alerts, which at times have cost us thousands of dollars per month.

All our users cost a similar amount to service and support (besides the abusers), but 98% of our user base is on a free plan. That means that nearly all our time and resources are spent on activities that just don’t lead to us being a healthy, sustainable business. If we can’t be healthy and sustainable, then we can’t support anyone. And we don’t want to close the doors, not with tens of thousands of people relying on us.

So we’ve made the decision to remove our free plans, effective today. If you rely on our product, then we ask for your support. We’ve tried the “freemium model” for over three years, but today’s market for mobile notifications and email productivity tools simply cannot allow us to sustain that model.

If our product can make your life easier, we hope you can help us to pay our server bills, to pay our employee salaries, and to continue to build products that allow you to be more effective with email.

Thank you for your support of AwayFind. We hope you’ll join us in this next leg of our journey.

If you’re an existing AwayFind user, you can upgrade here.  To see our new plans, click here.

AwayFind’s New Chrome Extension for Gmail by Jared Nov 7

If you use Gmail or Google Apps for your email, AwayFind’s new Chrome extension is going to make it much easier to stay as in touch or as out of touch as you’d like to be!

1. Manage (Nearly) All of AwayFind Right In Gmail

Now, right within Gmail you can create alerts with a single click:Click to Follow
Following a Sender

When the envelope is lit up, you’ll receive alerts from that Sender or Topic.  If you hover over it and click the “Edit” marker, you can edit the settings for that alert—for instance, if you’d like the alert to be temporary or to receive it via a different contact method:Adjust Follow Settings
Follow Settings -- Full Listing

The same applies to the Gmail Compose window:Compose Follow Options

And you can now manage your most important AwayFind settings—specifically your Important People and Important Topics lists:AwayFind Chrome Extension Toolbar

2. Get Alerts Without Pulling Out Your Phone

As you may have noticed in the screenshots above, there’s now a new contact method – Chrome Desktop Notifications.  That means that the second an important email arrives, AwayFind will pop it up on your PC or Mac.  No need to dig your phone out of your pocket to see your critical alert.

Check it: Chrome Desktop Notification from AwayFind -- Bart Simpson example

At AwayFind, our goal is to be there when you need us, but to never add friction to your life.  We hope this makes it easy for you to create alerts for your important messages, and then move on from your email as quickly as possible.

Try our new Chrome Extension today—it’s free for all AwayFind users!

Introducing Alert Times and Calendar Exceptions by Jared Nov 20

Get the alerts you want, when you want them: you can now restrict when you receive alerts and whose calendar alerts to skip.  And a whole lot more…

Alert Times

Your Important People and Topics might not be important all the time.  While we’ve always allowed restrictions for receiving Custom Alerts, you can now set them for all* your alerts, and you have more flexibility in how you set them…

You can now set a schedule for when you’d like to receive alerts OR when you don’t want to receive them.  This kind of flexibility means you can set different schedules for weekdays and weekends.  Here are some examples:

  • Always send alerts during the week, but never on weekends:
    AwayFind Alert Times overview
  • Don’t alert me when I’m at work; instead, alert me between when I leave work at 6pm and when I come back at 9am.  Do alert me during the weekends:
    AwayFind Alert Times blocking
  • Only alert me during business hours, during the week:
    AwayFind Alert Times allowing* These schedules only apply to your “My Important People” and “Topics I’m Following.”  Custom Alerts and Calendar Alerts have their own restrictions.

Calendar Exceptions

Our users that have a lot of meetings love our Calendar Alerts, but some of them have too many appointments with a ton of attendees…and thus they find themselves getting too many alerts.  We partially addressed this a couple months ago by allowing you to set the alert window to 15 minutes or 30 minutes (our smallest alert window used to be 1 hour).  But now you can actually restrict alerts from certain people!

In the “People I’m meeting…” row, click the double arrow on the right to expand the section.  Then where it says, “Ignore emails from:” enter the names of the people who you meet with regularly enough that you don’t want alerts when they email you right before the appointment:

AwayFind Calendar Exclusions

In the example above, I’ll be notified when anyone emails me within one hour of my appointment with them…except for john@gruber.com and mike@arrington.net’s emails.

Other Updates!

If you’re keeping tabs on our progress, we also released several small but important enhancements in the past few weeks:

  • Our browser plugins now authenticate directly through Google Sign-On, which make it easier to connect and more secure
  • In My Important People, we now auto complete based on your top contacts: My Important People auto-complete
  • You can now access all your purchase history: Account Settings - view receipts
  • And with bigger enterprises using AwayFind every day, we’re continually upgrading our security and improving our policies to ensure that our site remains reliable and your data will never be compromised (disclaimer: to the best of our ability)

We hope that these updates make it that much easier to escape your inbox!

NotifyMeNot: Put an end to email alerts from social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest by Jared Nov 13

At the heart of AwayFind is the concept that some emails matter now, but most don’t.  To make the most of AwayFind, it helps to turn off your alert sounds and stop unnecessary emails from ever reaching you.  Our latest project, NotifyMeNot, helps to keep those unnecessary messages away.
NotifyMeNot homepage snapshot

NotifyMeNot walks you through the exact steps for turning off email notifications on social networking and other popular sites.  Here are some direct links:

To be clear, there are some messages from these sites that you do want to receive, like personal messages sent directly to you, event invitations, notifications that your shipment was canceled, etc.  NotifyMeNot explains which email notifications you might want to keep, and how to do that, too.

Check it out, and keep those notifications at bay!

[NotifyMeNot]

AwayFind + Mailplane: A Better Gmail Experience by Jared Oct 1

We’re big fans of Gmail here at AwayFind.  The same can be said for the team behind Mailplane.  And now our products work together happily.

Mailplane for Gmail

MailPlane allows Mac users to experience Gmail’s web interface with a few goodies on top, such as:

  • Faster switching between email accounts
  • Multiple (and rich-text) signatures
  • Much better attachment management with OS X
  • Growl & Notification Center notifications

In short, MailPlane brings a full desktop app feature-set to the Gmail interface for Mac OS X users.

And now it works with AwayFind!  MailPlane 3.0 isn’t quite released yet, but that’s what you’ll want to install for AwayFind.  Install MailPlane 3.0 Beta or read about it here.

Introduction to Mailplane

Announcing Yahoo! Mail Support for AwayFind by Jared Sep 25

Yahoo Mail is one of the most popular email providers.  And over the years, we’ve had thousands of Yahoo users whom we couldn’t support.  But now we’re excited to announce that all that’s changed!Yahoo Mail logo

For the last few weeks, we’ve been testing Yahoo Mail support, and everything is working great!

We welcome your feedback–go see it for yourself!

Please note that we don’t presently support Yahoo Calendars, but are working on it.  The rest of AwayFind should function perfectly.

We’re especially excited that now so many who use AwayFind at work can monitor their personal Yahoo Mail accounts, as well.

Let us know if you have any questions.  Yahoo!

Looking for advanced iPhone Mail VIP Settings? Welcome to AwayFind, the original and much more powerful VIP. by Jared Sep 22

Email interruptions kill our workday—they take about 4 minutes to get back on track from, and they rarely relate to our most important tasks.  But missing an urgent email could cost us our job or result in a missed-opportunity.

That’s the fundamental principle behind AwayFind—getting away from your email, we find you when something matters now.  Thank you, Apple, for today exposing millions of people to these ideas with VIP for Mail.  For those who want a much richer & more powerful implementation of their product, you should consider AwayFind.

In a coming post, I’ll outline in depth the differences between Priority Inbox & VIP, and my suggestions for how to improve both products.  Here I’ll cut to the chase, and explain some of the core things that are possible with AwayFind, that are not possible with VIP:

  • Contact Recommendations – the biggest challenge with VIP is setting up your VIP list. Could you come up with that list easily? Will you remember to update it? AwayFind generates a ranked list of the 25 people you reply to the fastest, and sends you an updated list every month. VIP offers no guidance, which makes setup difficult and the likeliness of missing an email very high.
  • Calendar Alerts – We notify you when someone emails right before your appointment with them.  If you have a lot of meetings, you will absolutely love this.
  • Flexible Contact Alerts – VIP only notifies you when a message arrives from a specific email address, rather than a domain or a name.  For instance, VIP cannot alert you when you receive an email from “nytimes.com” or “Friedman” – it can only alert you when an exact email match is found, like “thomas.friedman@nytimes.com.”
  • Subject Alerts – sometimes a specific email discussion is very important, not an email address.  AwayFind can alert you based on email subjects, such as those with the word “Urgent” or “ASAP,” or one titled, “Proposal due tomorrow.”
  • Custom Alerts – sometimes you need very specific conditions for being alerted—perhaps a message with the word “server down” in the body, but only sent to you
  • Expiring Alerts – A person or discussion that’s important now, might only be important tomorrow. AwayFind allows you set expiring alerts that make a special alarm go off on your phone.
  • Support for Outlook, Gmail, Google Apps – if you don’t use Apple Mail as your mail client, you can’t do anything with VIP in other email applications.  AwayFind supports the most popular desktop and web clients.
  • VIP for Android – Got an Android device?  AwayFind has apps for both iOS and Android.
  • SMS and Voice Alerts – Don’t have a smartphone?  Traveling without a data plan?  AwayFind can SMS or even call you when a critical email arrives.
  • Delegation and Management – AwayFind can be configured to alert several people or across different channels (Voice+SMS+Android) when a really critical email arrives.
  • Crisis Communications – Every AwayFind user receives a contact form they can provide to their colleagues.  When their colleagues fill it in, it automatically escalates a message into an AwayFind alert.
  • CRM Integration – If you use Salesforce, you can create custom conditions for when someone is a VIP based on Salesforce data.  If you use another CRM, just let us know and we can work with you, too.
  • Corporate/Central Management – VIP is a fundamentally personal/consumer tool.  AwayFind is a business tool, and it can be provisioned and managed across an entire organization.

As you can see, we not only offer many more features, but we’re much more likely to catch your urgent emails.  We support a wider variety of technologies, and we integrate much more deeply in a workplace.

So if you’ve tested the waters with VIP and want something more, take AwayFind for a spin today.

Create SMS, Voice, iPhone, and Android Alerts with one click in Outlook. Try AwayFind for Outlook beta! by Jared Jun 14

If you use Microsoft Outlook, you’re not alone.  And it’s hard to feel alone when you get new email pop-ups all day long.

How about turning those off?  Or even closing Outlook for a few hours?  With AwayFind for Outlook, it’s now a lot easier.

Install AwayFind for Outlook Beta
Works with Windows Outlook 2003-2010

With one click you can create AwayFind alerts.  Just “follow” a sender or a subject:AwayFind for Outlook Full View of Browser Plugin

With one more click, you can specify that a particular person or topic notifies you in other ways, or expires after a day/week/month:

AwaFind for Outlook - specify all your options and create expiring alerts

The alerts will be set on the AwayFind server, which means that they won’t have an impact on Outlook’s performance, and the alerts will be triggered even when Outlook is closed.

Install AwayFind for Outlook Beta
Works with Windows Outlook 2003-2010

If you use Outlook, you’re going to love creating SMS, Voice, iPhone, or Android alerts with AwayFind for Outlook. You just need a free AwayFind account to get started.

Support for Multiple Calendars! Get alerts when emailed about an appointment on ANY of your calendars. by Jared Jun 14

When someone emails you about an upcoming meeting, AwayFind automatically alerts you.  People really dig it:andrewpbrett tweet about AwayFind calendar alerts

For a long time, we’ve been able to notify you if someone emails you right before your appointment with them.  This way you’ll catch a last minute change, or notice that they’ll be late.  Nearly 1/5 of meetings get updated at the last minute!

But what if your appointment isn’t listed on your main work calendar?  What if they email you at a different email address?

It turns out that not only do many of you have packed calendars, you have multiple packed calendars and different email addresses.  And you need to know whenever something changes on any of themNow you can.

To enable multiple calendars takes just 60 seconds:

  1. Visit your AwayFind Alerts page
  2. Expand the People I’m meeting today section
  3. Add the calendars you’d like AwayFind to monitor:

Multiple calendar support for AwayFind on Alerts page

When someone emails you (at any address that AwayFind monitors) about an appointment on any of your calendars, you’ll be notified automatically:

AwayFind calendar alert - never miss a last minute change - Don Draper example

So go on, live a full life.  We’ll keep you in the loop.

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