It seemed like not long ago I was using AOL email on dial up internet when the internet came in snail mail on a CD. Today email has gone through many cycles of evolution and recently we're seeing some interesting changes starting to happen. With mobile devices, email is progressing at a faster rate, ready for the next innovation. The concept of email hasn't changed a lot since those early days of dial up, until recently.
With the existence of smartphones, the internet is available in the palm of your hand. Many iterations later, we have very useful apps to run email on the fly. It might just seem like a normal thing today, but it's still pretty amazing when you think about it from a few years ago.
Mailbox - Put Email In Its Place
Mailbox is an all new email app for Gmail and iPhone designed for the mobile user.
Applications like Mailbox are changing the way we think about email. "Inbox Zero" is now more possible than ever in their system that helps delegate the organization of your incoming messages.
The big point here is Mailbox is changing the way you think about email. Actively procrastinate or put something off that is not important. Excellent email threads and quick access make it a stand out option on the marketplace and a delight to use. Email automation.
It might not entirely be seen as innovative, but its simplicity adds a lot of value for users. The hype machine and reservation line up also builds a sense of curiosity. A secret early adopters club, creating demand.
I have used mailbox and have to say it's very slick. Mobile first email is great, but I am a bit old school in that I check email on my desktop. On the go it is great. I already use Gmail and don't see a huge difference in the experience in mailbox enough for me to commit yet but perhaps after a while I'll change my tune.
This is not an in depth review of mailbox but more of an overview of current email trends and upcoming game changers out there.
*Update - Mailbox has since been acquired by beloved DropBox, expect really interesting things here.
Sparrow - Get mail done
Sparrow was technically one of the first innovators in the email space.
Another really good answer to tired email applications, Sparrow has since been acquired by Google - so you know it has to have something good going for it.
For those that prefer desktop applications they have a tailored mac version.
Gmail - A Google approach to email
Open up any browser and get to your email. Cloud based email applications are excellent as you can access your from any device whether at home, on the go or while traveling.
The Google mobile team has done a really great job at keeping up with the times and making a great mobile experience for their Gmail application on iPhone.
Google also offers business level service for organizations who need more than the basics.
Integration with your calendar, online storage and social profile make it that more enticing to use as a go to spot. Really great developments have popped up recently including Google Voice enabling phone calls.
It doesn't stop there
Besides the standard options, you have to look at some lesser known ones out there to see innovation:
An email revolution is going on out there. The race is on.
Hotmail and Yahoo mail were market dominators first. Then came Gmail.
With Microsoft blending Hotmail into one banner of Outlook, the interface is on trend and now accessed by millions of users. It's looking like Microsoft can play now, offering some comparable competition.
It's not just changing online, but offline too
With an industry that hasn't had a lot of innovation until recently, changes are a big welcome.
Regular post mail service has noticed a change too. We used to send hand written letters to friends and family in high frequency, and we can visibly see that phasing out. Before that, telegrams or a good old fashioned delivery by bird perhaps.
Canada Post has noticed a shift in their service and has geared down regular mail service.
Is this the better way to communicate?
Email is a common, daily interaction in the modern world. It's amazing to see how far it's come, even though how seemingly little has changed.
The language of email is changing now with new devices and mobile applications changing how we do things. But is it for the better? With more options and better experiences, I think it should be. As long as you can make it through the noise.
The way email is today it may leave behind a desired intimacy only achieved through hand made, printed work we aren't seeing much of anymore. With paperless billing and everything moving to the cloud, the human touch gets lost in a digital web.
There is still room for improvement in the email world. Better management of subscriptions, feeds, content, contacts and extensions. Hard to keep it all simple. Especially with something that is constantly changing.
I am looking forward to the future of email.