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.