The Bottom Line
AwayFind can capture message categories and lets you set up detailed filters for notifications easily, but it cannot learn from your actions automatically (lending importance to emails from people to whom you've replied instantly in the past, for example).
- AwayFind lets you get away from email while urgent messages still find you
- In your auto-responder, you link to your AwayFind contact form
- AwayFind can filter certain mail for immediate notification — by iPhone app, e.g., or SMS
- AwayFind could be even smarter and more autonomous with identifying urgent messages
- Lacking integration with email itself, AwayFind makes people with urgent matters repeat their email
- AwayFind lets people get through to you faster with urgent messages while you're not bombarded with irrelevant mail.
- A link in your "out of office" auto-responder directs people to your AwayFind contact form.
- AwayFind can send the urgent message to separate email addresses (yours or a colleague's) or via iPhone notification and SMS.
- Messages captured by AwayFind can also be accessed via the web and the iPhone app.
- Via the AwayFind site or a Gmail add-on, you can set up detailed filters that notify you of certain messages.
- AwayFind then watches your Gmail, Google Apps and other IMAP or Exchange account for mail that bears immediate notification.
- AwayFind provides decently worded auto-responder templates to direct people to the form — but only for urgent matters.
- A CAPTCHA makes sure only humans can submit the AwayFind form.
Guide Review - AwayFind - Email Productivity and Notification Service
With AwayFind, you can get your days back and still be within reach. In an auto-reply to incoming mail, you explain your email policy (as you would without AwayFind) and link to your AwayFind contact page.
There, people can have their message sent to you via SMS, find your phone number for emergencies or learn who else to contact while you're away. AwayFind's strength lies in that contact page's flexibility: you can set it up to route messages by category, for example. For a small office, AwayFind can double as a general-purpose contact form.
Notification and contact methods abound: you can have AwayFind reach you at a different, priority email address, of course, or by instant messenger and Twitter; you can also have AwayFind send you an SMS text, though, call you or use the AwayFind iPhone app's alert.
The iPhone application as well as AwayFind on the web let you read messages captured through the form — if you decide to keep them —, but that's not all. AwayFind can also monitor your every Google Apps, Gmail, IMAP or Exchange account for important mail. How does AwayFind know what's important? You tell it.
You can set up filters for senders, subjects, priority and number of recipients, for example. You can set up these filters at AwayFind and, to some degree, right in Gmail and the iPhone app. What AwayFind, alas, cannot do is set up its filters automatically. It can suggest frequent contacts but cannot learn from your actions.
Such measures could take some burden off those sending email, too. They have to take a number of steps (which include copying the message from the sent email to the AwayFind form) to urgently reach you after all.
Establishing sane communication expectations and a relaxed, productive email approach by sheer practice is great. Where that does not work, AwayFind is an effective and simple way to combine the freedom of handling today's mail tomorrow with the peace of mind in knowing urgent matters will find their way to you in time.
(Updated January 2011)