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And you thought email was dead…

Email – having survived many declarations of its death – is experiencing a renewal. This week, Google launched priority inbox. Then came the announcement of Greplin (most likely candidate for Google acquisition) – a service for searching across multiple platforms: gmail, twitter, facebook, dropbox, etc. And guess what? Now email has been raised to platform status with “huge potential for extensibility”. Only a year ago, Google Wave was hailed as an email killer. Today, Wave is gone and email soldiers on. Email and bed bugs have similar resiliency, it appears.

7 Comments

  1. Jon Dron wrote:

    Wave may not be as dead as it might be either. Looks like parts of it are being absorbed by the mothership, such as http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/08/collaborative-highlighting-in-documents.html
    Which does look pretty cool. It might be a while before email gets something quite like this!

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Nicola wrote:

    At work our team are a few weeks in to trying with renewed enthusiasm to reduce email seeing as we are going around talking about online collaboration, we are still contacting each other using it way too much. Its so difficult – ltos of enthusiasm at first then someone in whatever context starts an email then suddenly people jump back in and almost immediately we can forget about being more collaborative.

    Having reviewed email traffic e.g. my main work inbox as increased by approx 30% since January this year, found that about 1 in 5 sent is a reply to someone. Secondary inbox has increaed by more than that but then its related to a project which has grown since going live – these are nearly all replies. Third ‘inbox’ which is inside a collaboration system is similar to both.

    We had an email system failure earlier in the year and we tried to take the opportunity to go out and really plug using different ways of collaborating i.e. blogs, wikis – with some success.

    Doesn’t solve it for senior management (and increasingly everyone else now email services available more widely anyway) with mobile devices which receive email, people are much less inclined to log on to something when they are on the move and unless something really amazing happened in terms of mobile versions of collaborative tools – its difficult to see it changing much faster, but possible.

    Some areas of the business are doing things like running email workshops and having email initiatives but these seem to be more focused on time management and priorities rather than looking at whether you can actually respond to something in a shared area in order to collaborate.The organisations I am working with consider online collaboration of any kind a massive cultural change.

    In terms of personal email, would definitely hold hands up – at the moment probably send more than receive. Also the problem is notifications from various social media tools whether its community notifications, message notifications. If turn them off, then the chances of going in to which community or tool it was is very low. Every single tool / software / application requires either an email address for registration or email address for notifications so the trouble starts there.

    What’s the solution, stop immediately ? Would love to – goodbye online universe then ! After my email being exposed anyway earlier this year, much more interested in having a shared email account like Mailinator (emails that get auto-deleted after a few hours mmmmm).

    Even with shared or temporary or going completely over to different kinds of social tools, doesn’t solve that people want to contact other people individually and sometimes privately for all kinds of reasons in all kinds of contexts.

    Another option is for everyone to use no collaborative / social tools at all except email but make it all completely public, visible and searchable.

    Or not, but if I was going to redesign email, I wouldn’t start with anything that Google is offering (sorry Google) because it still all ties everything to one google account in the end.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:42 am | Permalink
  3. Nicola wrote:

    Oh and I should have read the article you mentioned before responding – oops

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:54 am | Permalink
  4. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Nicola – I can relate to your frustration with email! Considering how much time we spend in our inbox, it’s important for organizations to assist people in making sense of email. I don’t think Priority Inbox is the solution…but, at least google is experimenting!

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink
  5. Nicola wrote:

    Hi George, thank you, good challenge – it would be much more interesting if could say that have designed something different and played around with it and said this is how far we’ve got etc Tempted now to have a go even though not a huge company with tons of really talented people working with them. May respond back to this post in a few months time. (btw missed out a crucial not in the 1 in 5 sentence above, 1 in 5 emails sent is not a reply, i.e. initiated by me – would quite like to clarify to the universe that not totally email spamming :; )

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  6. Email is an interesting platform, b/c it’s an open standard that plays well with anything. I recently got a Peek — a mobile email device that cost me $40 outright — and I’ve been amazed how much I can do with email — there are very simple programs where I email an address a subject, for example, and I get the wikipedia page back. I can blog, get email summaries of RSS feeds, etc.

    With open platforms dissappearing, email is ripe for extension….

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink
  7. Email is an interesting platform, b/c it’s an open standard that plays well with anything. I recently got a Peek — a mobile email device that cost me $40 outright — and I’ve been amazed how much I can do with email — there are very simple programs where I email an address a subject, for example, and I get the wikipedia page back. I can blog, get email summaries of RSS feeds, etc.

    With open platforms dissappearing, email is ripe for extension….

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink