How should next generation email look like?
Over the years, the concept of emails has taken a drastic change. There was a time when Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail used to be market leaders with a total of 2-4 MB email space. Interestingly, people were happy with the space provided, and everything was working out fine until Google entered the scenario with 1GB free space. It changed the whole scenario altogether and suddenly, everyone started using Gmail!
Apart from the huge mailbox size, what attracted people were the new user interface, the smooth operations and new innovations every now and then. Soon after, Google launched Google Talk, which is its Internet messaging service, and then quite intelligently, integrated it with the Google mail box. This ensured that people would not have to switch between windows to work on mail and chat.
While Google came up with extremely impressive innovations, what forced the world to revisit the concept of emailing altogether was the entry of social networking giants such as Facebook. Initially, it was just a sharing among friends, but with innovations within the social networking websites, the inevitable question came up if social networking feeds had the power to make the current emailing system obsolete in the near future?
At the first glance, it would seem to be a ridiculous idea as because mailing is predominant in the personal and corporate sphere, while social networking is present only in people’s personal domain. However, the core concept of both emailing and social sharing is the same – people propagate their message to intended recipients through mediums like text, images, videos and other formats. However, as one may argue, a mailbox provides a sense of security, which cannot be guaranteed by a open social networking feed.
However, looking at the bigger picture, what seems to be more likely that, emailing would have to replace a lot of its concepts by bringing in fresh concepts from the social networking feeds. The user interface is definitely going to be centred on the user’s social circle, rather than the current data-centric approach. Moreover, it should be easier to handle large amount of data – as social circles would help in efficient classification of data.
On the flip side, as pointed out earlier, there could be a few security tradeoffs that need to be worked out before we move on to the next version of email communication. Users should always have the control over what they receive and what they want to share with the rest of the world.
The need for a revolutionary version of email system is very much required as it can be observed that emails relating to one’s private life are now being replaced by social networking feeds. The forwarded mails containing several funny content are now being shared on Facebook rather than intruding people’s inbox. In one way, people may argue that it has taken off the unnecessary stuff out of the mailbox, but it also has dented the popularity of mailboxes to a large extent. Unless, emailing system are ready to embrace the latest Internet trends, it could face tough times ahead.
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