Email is not dead (Demo 2004 Series – 7) I continue to be an avid follower of what’s going on in the email space. Why? Here are some things to think about:
From my eRoom and Collaboration days, I’ve been very aware of the challenges to achieving adoption. My view is that the challenge exists whenever the adoption of a new application or system requires some degree of coordination between a set of users. Email is by far the greatest example of an application of computers which has very successfully overcome that barrier. I want to learn from that.
Second reason: I’ve observed that the tools we use to work with email (the general striucture email applications, email protocols, email use models) basically were laid down in the 1970’s. And yet, in the past 30 years (!) email’s role in society has totally changed, the volume of email has totally changed, the numbers of users have totally changed, the purposes of use have totally changed. It feels like we are due for a major re-think of the model.
Would it be the merging of Instant Messaging with Email? Might it be the merging of collaboration tools with Email. Might it be some fundamental move away from the Inbox/Outbox/Folders/Compose/Forward/Reply model to something perhaps more appropriate to the new world of email?
Anyway, back to Demo 2004. There were some interesting email “related” applications launched at Demo.
Bloomba Email Client: Bloomba 2.0 is, believe it or not, an Outlook replacement that is worth a look. They are literally and knowingly going head to head with Microsoft. They have a heavy emphasis on searching within the email, which as you know, I think is super important and overlooked. They’ve done a very nice job with the application, and as I say, worth a look.
MailBlocks Web Based Email client: This is a very interesting integration of email, calendar and contact information. I believe that there is also fancy spam filtering technology. But the neatest (and useful to me) feature is the automatic parsing of emails to locate contact info changes and meeting information and proposing them to you as calendar and address book updates. While there are multiple web based mail clients, this one has a neat angle. Very nice. If you are interested in this web based mail client, you should also check out OddPost, which is interesting because it’s a tour-de-force DHTML application that actually creates a real GUI Outlook Express like experience, all with just a browser, and no downloads.