Etacts: Get Your Email Under Control

If you’ve got more than a few contacts in your email address book, it’s easy to lose track of those you haven’t talked with lately. Maybe you’ve achieved inbox zero — that doesn’t mean you’ve actually sent emails to everyone you really need to. Etacts‘ goal is to get you back in touch with everyone you know. At this point, the web application works only with Gmail (s goog), but if you’re a Gmail user, you can have a much greater level of control over your email with Etacts.

Getting Your Inbox In Order

Etacts offers a dashboard that points out what emails you’ve recently received but haven’t replied to, singling out any emails that seem more important based on the frequency of your conversations with a particular email address. It even bumped an email from my mom up to the “important” category. You can also set reminders, either through the dashboard or through a bookmarklet set up for Gmail.
You’ll also find that the tool pulls in older emails and uses them to rank your contacts for you. Based on those ranks, you can see how recently you met someone, who you’ve lost touch with recently and even any reminders you’ve set on their email addresses. Etacts offers the option of manually adding phone calls, too, and can factor that information into its rankings.

Sending Your Emails

If you’re interested in streamlining your email even further, Etacts offers tools for sending emails without switching back to Gmail. You can create message templates, send multiple emails at once — not the same emails to different people, but multiple emails in one screen — and track who has responded to your emails.
If you’ve gone to some effort to create groups within your Gmail contacts, don’t worry. Those will be imported into Etacts as well. You can also create new groups within the web application. Once you’ve got groups in place, you can set reminders on when to contact those groups.

From Gmail to Etacts

In order for Etacts to have the information about your email it needs, you’ll need to give it permission to access your Gmail account. That access is protected, of course: while you can choose to log in using your Gmail address and your password, the default is that you can grant authorized access to your Google account via oAuth. That fact makes life a lot easier if you decide that you want to limit the site’s access to your account down the road — you don’t have to change your password. Unfortunately, that access seems to be one of the key reasons why Etacts hasn’t expanded to other email providers. Gmail is simply easier for the web application to work with. Etacts only downloads email headers to figure out who your most important contacts are — it doesn’t download entire messages.
Etacts is free. Note: When you first grant Etacts access to your email account, be prepared to let the web application do its thing for a while. Especially if you’re a heavy email user, it can take a while to import your emails and analyze them.
Let us know what you think of Etacts in the comments.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Email: The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated