Email As A Platform

from the it's-more-than-it-seems... dept

It looks like more people are starting to realize that email is more than it seems. Especially given the drastic increase in storage size of web-based email applications, more people are realizing that email is basically a personal database. People simply store information in their email, from contact information that was emailed to them to schedule information to purchase tracking from emailed receipts. Lots of people email messages to themselves, realizing that email is basically the best “permanent” filing system they have. That’s part of the reason why good email search is so important. Of course, what the article doesn’t discuss is the next stage of this evolution. If you have a database of important information, the next step is to build useful applications on top of it. In other words, people are starting to realize that email, itself, is a platform for personal information management.

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Comments on “Email As A Platform”

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Tim (user link) says:

No Subject Given

Just how does one store *anything* in email? Intrinsically it provides no filing system at all: so do you mean lots of people are creating a folder called `long-term storage for useful crap’ and moving stuff into it?

Email may be OK for information transfer and communication but it’s only the information-store of the terminally lazy. There are any number of `Stickies’ or rolodex-a-like filing system utilities available – or failing all else, USE *THE* FILESYSTEM.

Of course, if you’re dead set on storing data with RFC2822 gunk wastefully splatted all around it, you might find Z?e useful too…

Paul (user link) says:

Storage is just the start

In order for email to become a platform, it has to incorporate standards by which you can create applications that simply use the platform. That is what we have done with Capango. It is a messaging platform (that uses http), but allows organizations to create applications within the Capango structure, so that an “email” can contain any number of applications and the data is stored and can be retrieved through searches and queries (for reporting).
Esther Dyson calls this “Meta-Mail”. And our members find this very useful.

Bill Eccles says:

Re: Storage is just the start

I actually realized that, while someone above commented that E-mail isn’t so much a platform so much as it is a place to put crap, IMAP offers an incredible functionality that has become truly useful to me. Instead of worrying about trying to get WebDAV or .Mac to work, I merely sync up my, er, “file system” with my Mail client.

Seems to work purt’ durned well.

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