When it comes to email, many of us are data hoarders that have hundreds (or thousands) of messages bogging down our inboxes and a lot of us have been hoarding for years.

While email services such as Gmail offer a way to search keywords within email, it’s not the best solution if you’re looking for attachments. Gmail merely provides a list of related emails upon a search, leaving it up to you to scour the results to yourself.

A Toronto-based startup says they aim to do for your inbox what Dropbox did for the documents folder on your computer by providing users an attachment-centric preview of your inbox.

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Attachments.me manages your email attachments in a variety of ways and includes the options to easily share the files with friends or bookmark and tag searches for later.

How It Works:

This service works with Gmail and requires users to grant the web app access to begin the process of loading attachments. Similar to photo sharing services like Flickr, the attachments are cleverly paraded across as thumbnails.

Within the sidebar of the app, there’s a tool that groups the files by type; movies, images, documents and archives.

To navigate through the attachments users can search by file name, email address or by tag (text content). Attachments.me indexes the attachments’ text content to refine the search results. This feature seriously comes in handy for finding text documents should you forget the name of the file or email address of the sender.

A set of search results can be bookmarked and will be readily available within the user-interface coupled with personalized labels. Any attachment can additionally be shared with Facebook and Twitter by hovering over the file within the app.

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Facebook is coming soon

We had a chat with Jesse Miller of Attachments.me earlier today and he told us that they’re adding a set of exciting new features in the next few weeks.

While attachments.me currently only pulls in your data from Gmail, in the next two weeks the service will be expanding to work with social networks and Yahoo mail.

Miller explained that the Facebook feature will enable users to find content that was posted to your feed. As an example, when a friend posts something to your wall (or feed), users will later be able to search for the item from their Attachments.me account. And eventually, he hopes to offer support for services like Twitter and LinkdIn.

Aside from bringing users a way to scour their Facebook feeds and email attachments, Attachments.me also does something cool with links.

Miller shared with us that users can find things like YouTube videos by name, even if the title of the video is no where to be found in the email. To make this happen, Attachments.me would crawl over to the YouTube page (from the link sitting in your inbox) and would find the video for you.

In case you’re wondering about privacy, we should note that Attachments.me makes a copy of everything on its servers to speed up your experience. Without making copies, Miller says just an IMAP connection would be too slow, so they need to make duplicates to pull it off. This additionally allows users to share a link to the files easily.

The Bottom Line:

Previewing attachments in thumbnail form is ideal both for locating and discovering the files you’d forgot you had. Its layout, design and ability to find content from a variety of sources is awesome, for lack of a better word. I’m admittedly horrible for finding stuff on Facebook so I’m eager to use Attachments.me with Facebook and Twitter. On a side note, Miller’s Toronto-based startup recently received $500,000 in funding from Foundry Group, a VC firm out of Colorado.

Attachments.me is free and is currently in beta but we’ve snagged 20 invites for you. Just head over to the site and use “tnw” as the invite code. Please share your thoughts on the service in the comments.

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