EMail Revolutions

A simple, yet highly effective communication tool that has forever changed the World. It is just the beginning in the evolution of online communication.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Yahoo: Mail integrated with Messenger

Yahoo!Mail beta has integrated with Messenger. Specific functionality:
  • Presence awareness - when the recipient comes online, it notifies you during composition
  • Switch comm - Instantly move an email composition into a messenger conversation
  • Group join - allow others to join and view the message thread (I think)
It seems to be limited to Yahoo Messenger, which I don't have, so I couldn't try it first hand. MSN Messenger is supposed to be integrated with Yahoo, but apparently not for this functionality. Ryan Kennedy created a nice little video demo of the email-messenger functionality.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Email, is there a better way: 400,000 think so

For the past year, I've been hearing about a local internet technology company called Foldera. They're reinventing online communication as we know it through collaboration, personal content sharing, and automatic organization. They are in a closed beta, but 400,000 requested an account in the first weeks alone! As you may know, I'm an email expert and I'm also an information junkie and look for ways to unify and organize communication more rapidly. So just how would might Foldera reinvented the wheel?

The Need for Email 2.0
Email is chaotic and not organized. Even without spam, most peoples Inbox are like an ADD playground; with message after message on completely different subject matters, requirements for attention or actionable items. Also, there is no functionality of a message beyond just being read. If you begin to consider it, quite a lot of time time and energy is wasted. Is it possible to device a system to help you keeping focus on what matters right then, presents complete and organized information and associates the information to and from other applications such files and calendar schedules.
The market has seen several ad-ons to email such as spam filtering, alerts, rich-messages, contact sharing, etc. Still email has largely not advanced since it's inception. Several papers and proposals have been written on advanced email collaboration systems. These concepts go beyond the email message itself with message flow threading, categorization, collaboration, grouped associations, etc. Nevertheless, the market has yet to see a common user-friendly interface to tie in these rich email features.

So what's new
While Foldera is still in a closed beta, here is some of what might be expected:
  • Group message threading (parsing messages by their participants, adding others into a communication chain),
  • Automatic messages sorting rules,
  • Calendar integration (group and topic oriented),
  • Workspace collaboration,
  • Messenger tie-in (interweaving email & IM),
  • Blog integration,
  • File cabinets,
  • other mashup incarnations.
Market Acceptance
Foldera is clearly proving that the market demands more than the traditional offerings. However, even if Foldera does have the next-gen solution; is there room in the marketplace? The top 3 online email providers (GMail, Hotmail and Yahoo!Mail) are committed to pushing the envelope with their mail interfaces. Proof: Microsoft has spent years just getting a handle on their legacy Hotmail infrastructure; Yahoo's acquisition of Oddpost and Stata Labs has started to trickle in as seen in the latest Yahoo Mail BETA and Google is now giving away a white-labeled solution for your own domain. The email giants have good reason to support these too; see the top 5 Reasons Google Gives Away Email. Creating any service online requires a solid business model; however if they do it right and satisfy even a fraction of these user, it will clearly be valuable.

Future in Collaboration
The changes we'll see in the next years with online communication are just the beginning. In the future, we'll see combinations of other forms such as voice (recognition), photos, video, presence awareness. Sharing yourself via YouTube, Flickr, Blog, social bookmarks will be in the same platform as email and calendar.
The collaboration of the future won't just be online, but with us all the time: in our cars, music player, cell phone and maybe even our alarm clock. The media giants (Google, Yahoo, MSN) are poised for this and are already conglomerating these services, through acquisition and development. While it maybe just off the horizon, todays modern communication platforms should be built with that extendable framework in mind or risk being a communication silo themselves.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

GMail for your domain

GMail is part of suite of applications dubbed apps for your domain. In an impressive move, they are giving away hosted email for your domain as a white-labeled solution. Kudos to Garett Rogers for dissecting the GMail code and accurately predicting the domain tie in months before.

The hosted services include: Google GMail, Chat, Calendar and customizable domain web pages. They've also allow new domain registrations (via 3rd party domain name resellers) to allow new .com registrations. There are a variety of hosted email solutions for your domain, but this is the first, completely free service that I've seen taken to market.

The GMail package has a limit of 50 accounts, but you can request for more. Each mailbox carries the same features and functionality as a typical GMail account ; such as the gratuitous gig's of storage (see top 5 reasons Google gives away email). There are unique domain features such as:
  • custom logo,
  • contact sharing,
  • catch-all mailbox

This will, no doubt be a tough challenge for email hosting companies to compete.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Top 10 Features, er I mean patches, in Exchange 2007

I couldn't resist trying out the Exchange build. We had an Exchange 2000 implementation which to upgrade, so this was a big jump. I had big maybe unreasonable expectations from Microsoft, but came up with finding things were much the same. Thinking that I was missing something, I read up and found InfoWorlds gleeming review of Exchange 2007, I don't typically follow InfoWorld, but I was surprised at their top feature picks; here they are with my rebuttals.

1. Server roles - Now there are 5; as if they were short before. Granted SOX has taught us a lot, but nearly every Exchange implementation I've seen has 2, maybe 3 commonly used roles.
2. WebReady Document Viewing - Not all recipient use Msft products, let along Outlook. Webmail users are largely in the dark when sent an Outlook generated item containing Calendar or Notes; even in Hotmail. Finally, Microsoft has built in that compatibility.
Exchange Management Shell - Joy, a new tool. While I didn't think it was necessary, it does simplify Active Directory management.
Exchange ActiveSync - "Improved ActiveSync ...". I'm hoping this means that my Calendar and Notes will stop getting duplicated.
Exchange Hosted Services - Spam, Archiving & Continuity for a subscription fee. Is this Microsofts first step into hosted services? I'm wondering how long until Exchange Hosted Service providers call foul.
Outlook Web Access - Nothing really new here.
Outlook auto-discover - Outlook will automatically configure for Exchange. Wow, imagine that; it's as is they were made by the same company.
Smart scheduling - I like this feature, but again, nothing new. It performs server side scheduling vs. client side; this is more of a feature optimization.
Improved search - This is the only feature in the list that I found exciting; however I expected it. Microsoft admittedly got into the search business late in the game. Thanks to Google, internet users expect immediate search results; finally Outlook meets that expectation.
Bundled encryption - Great for SOX compliance and hyper-sensitive organizations. Most email users will cannot implement this as it not supported by most email providers.

While it does have some other bells & whistles,
Exchange 2007 mostly picks up some of the loose ends that the prior versions left behind.

Update: if you need help in the Exchange upgrade see this article on Transitioning from Exchange 2000 to 2007.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Top 5 Reasons Google Gives Away Email

Since GMail's casual release in 2003, more and more users are getting these email accounts. The registration used to be association invite only, but has slowly opened up through a number of avenues. Several friends and family have heard of or seen the GMail address but didn't realize that it's a product of Google. "Isn't Google just for search?" they've asked, "Why would they want to give away email?". Afterall, how can giving away 2.8GB+ of storage with 100's of messages and spam be worthwhile?

Being in the search and email industries, I'm keen to their tactics. So here it is...

The Top 5 Reasons Google Gives Away Email:

5. Provide internet users a simple one-stop shop.

Google wants to give everyone from the elderly to the young, an easy way to use the internet easy. They're product are consistently made simple enough for almost anyone to understand as groups have found (see Golden Triangle study). But why? Google is estimated to already control over 25% of the internet advertising revenue through its own and partner websites. That effectively means for 4 every users; Google at least receives the benefit of 1. At this point their growth opportunity is in attracting more consumers. This is demonstrated by Googles free metropolitian wi-fi plans which undoubtedly will bring more people online.

4. To take advantage of the #1 usage of the internet.

Email is, and has always been, the largest reason people go online.

3. Gain user attraction to Google search.

Email search and Web search from one text box.

2. To provide contextually relevant advertising.

If you didn't notice, those ads on the side are matched to the content of your messages. Most people don't realize that this was disclosed in their term of service.

1. To gathering marketing data in real-time.

New trends can be extrapolated quite rapidly. While its unclear if Google is doing anything with this today, it could be sold in the future. Afterall, selling popular keywords is what the search giant does best. Many consumer advocacy groups have cried foul, but the fact is that the wire (tapping) protection act does not cover media transmissions which are stored such (i.e. email messages on a server). For a futher analysis of this see EPIC.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


If you haven't already seen EPIC, you should. This 8 minute video is a documentary of future events surrounding the evolution of Google, Microsoft, Amazon and the NY Times. It predicts the establishment of wide social networking via Blogging and fall of printed newspaper media. EPIC is perhaps a bit far on aspects of conspiracy theory, nevertheless its basis is conceivable; even more daunting is the fact that Google is doing many, many other things which aren't even identified here... making one wonder how far it will really go.

What role will private communications (via GMail) play in further establishing dominance in the overall social networking? Probably a lot. The union between blogging and email is already a fuzzy line. Blogger and Gmail have some associations such as publishing via email and email alerts, however the integration is certainly in its infancy. As GMail tools and plugins continue to evolve, we can imagine that the messaging industry at large might be threatened. Of immediate concern are those provisioning towards the consumer experience such as Yahoo, Hotmail, and nationwide ISPs; and in the future could be email service providers and applications such as: Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, Laszlo Systems,, Mail2World, BlueTie, Outblaze, etc.)

GMail Revolution

In 2004 Google unveiled GMail and forever changed the email industry. Google touted 1GB (now 2GB) of free email storage with a novel, yet elegantly simple interface. What they offer, no other free email provider can profitably match. And yet the pressure to match the same level of service is compounding costs for the ISP industry. How can Google offer such services without charge? Are they just burning excess cash from their high value market capitalization or do they have a master plan?

This GMails blog is an open forum to discuss the GMail offering, related tools & services, contextual ad serving, privacy, and the impacts towards collaboration and communications. Additionally we'll discuss how Google will leverage GMail into their repertoire of products and services; considering the strategic impact to competitors in multiple industries.