Review: AwayFind lets eagerly anticipated emails find you
At a Glance
Most of us check email too much far too often. If you want to cut the ties that bind you to your inbox, but don't want to worry about missing out on important messages, meet AwayFind, a handy service that lets your email find you.
To use AwayFind, you sign up for an account by supplying a few basic details, or—if you use Gmail or Google Apps—connecting to that account. It works for anyone who has an email account and a phone, and it doesn't even have to be a mobile phone. Once your account is up and running, AwayFind delivers alerts, via a phone call, text message, or push notifications, when you receive an important email. That way, you'll know when you need to check your email, rather than monitoring your inbox all day. And AwayFind makes it very easy to specify when you do—and don't—want to be notified.
AwayFind doesn't decide which emails are important. Instead, you tell it exactly what you're looking for. You can set up your notification preferences using AwayFind's website, or via the browser extensions and add-ons available for Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. The mobile apps for iOS and Android also allow you to set up and manage your alerts, which is a nice touch if you want to make changes when you're already out and about.
You can set up alerts by people, topic, date, or time. You can, for example, choose to be alerted anytime you receive an email from a specific person, email address, or domain. You can also choose to be alerted whenever a subject line contains a certain word or phrase. In addition, you can link a calendar to AwayFind and choose to receive alerts when anyone with whom you've scheduled a meeting in the next 15 minutes to 36 hours sends you a message.
Once you've determined when you'd like to be alerted, you can determine how: via an SMS, a voice call, and/or a push notification. You can select any or all of these options.
The mobile app adds a useful feature called "Waiting for NOW," which lets you set a timer (anywhere from 1 minute to 24 hours). You enter an email address, name, or domain, and if a matching message arrives during the countdown, you'll receive an alert.
In my tests, AwayFind worked almost perfectly. It delivered the alerts I requested as soon as the messages I'd specified arrived in my inbox. It faltered slightly when I tested the calendar feature, though, failing to pick up a meeting I'd scheduled in my Google Calendar. It turns out this was because of the way I spelled the contact's name in the calendar: It didn't match the email address, so AwayFind thought they were two different people. AwayFind recommends that users who'd like to rely on Calendar Alerts use Calendar Invitations to create a meeting.
AwayFind offers a fully functional free trial that lasts for 31 days. After that, you'll have to pay to keep using it. The $5-per-month Personal plan lets you connect one email account, and receive 100 alerts (SMS or push) per month, which will be delivered within five minutes. The $15-per-month Pro plan supports five email accounts (including Google Apps and Exchange) and 1,000 alerts per month, which are delivered instantly. It also adds support for voice alerts. The $50-per-month Max plan offers unlimited alerts and an unlimited number of email accounts. AwayFind also offers plans for businesses who use Google Apps or Exchange.
AwayFind offers plenty of easy-to-use and useful ways to make sure you don't miss important emails, but its chief limitation is that it can monitor only the messages you're expecting. Should important news arrive from an unexpected source, you could still miss out …and it's exactly that uncertainty that prevents me from relying on AwayFind wholeheartedly.
Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you can subscribe to this service.