Social inbox Engagio becomes a social conversations network

Engagio, an email-like inbox that organizes social media conversations, is taking a big step toward becoming more of a social network of its own. The Toronto-based start-up seed funded by Union Square Venture’s Fred Wilson and others is rolling out a handful of new features and updates that broaden the reach of the service and make it a more versatile tool for connected users.

The service launched in December with a dashboard that allowed people to track their own conversations from Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Google+ (s goog), LinkedIn (s lnkd), Foursquare, Google Contacts and through commenting platforms Disqus and Facebook. Now, with a new engagement discovery dashboard, users can follow their friends’ conversations. They can follow their existing contacts on Twitter, Facebook and Google or they can search Engagio’s 400,000 user profiles and follow one person across all the platforms they use with a single click.

While Engagio launched with a Gmail-like interface, it’s now becoming available inside Gmail as an extension for Chrome, allowing people to see their conversations in an email folder. Some current Engagio users already get notified of comments through their Gmail account, but they can now get a filtered view of all their conversations across different platforms and a simple way to reply to any comments without leaving Gmail. Users can also compose an update or Tweet from Gmail that will appear on their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.

Engagio is throwing in some other improvements like the ability for a user to register an unlimited number of accounts on one platform. Previously, a user was only allowed to register one account from Facebook or Twitter. This should help community and brand managers who want to follow the conversations around multiple accounts.

William Mougayar, the founder and CEO of Engagio said that what’s increasingly valuable or interesting to people isn’t so much the flood of information on social channels, but the chance to interact with a smaller number of people. He said existing tools don’t do a good enough job organizing and preserving these conversations, which can quickly get lost in the stream. And now, with the engagement discovery dashboard, users can get even more value from the conversations of others.

“It’s a stream of conversations of those that you follow,” said Mougayar. “Someone told me it reminds them of them of Friend Feed but of conversations only.”

I think it can be little voyeuristic, keeping tabs of all the conversations of people I want to follow. But that’s the nature of many of these platforms. They’re already public; Engagio just captures it all together in a single place. I still wonder if Engagio could become part of a larger product or if it could evolve into a Hootsuite or TweetDeck competitor. But Mougayar said that’s not his intention. He believes there’s plenty of opportunity in just concentrating on discussions and leaving the rest to others.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Randy Robertson