Recent launch of Basecamp’s Hey service made me realize how much I love email. Their pitch is actually on point:
Email gets a bad rap, but it shouldn’t. Email’s a treasure.
Damn right it is.
Email is a set of open protocols. We can argue about the “implementability” of IMAP clients and such, but it remains the only widely used, open communication system we have on the internet. XMPP was supposed to become its equivalent for instant messaging, but failed, and no other protocol took its place because it’s in no messaging platform’s interest to give its users freedom of choice. There are multi-protocol messaging apps, but they are essentially UI hacks. Even Twitter, which arguably isn’t an IM, is gradually limiting what third party clients can and cannot do.
Continue reading “We should cherish email”
Yesterday Dropbox announced that they will close their Mailbox app and service in February.1 This is yet another case of a big company acquiring an email-client startup and shutting it down, and it doesn’t surprise me. Nobody wants email clients (except for me and my girlfriend), because GMail’s web interface is good enough or even great for most people. Writing an email client is deceptively hard, and yields relatively small payoff. Also, Dropbox needs to concentrate on its collaborative tools efforts in order to be able to compete with Google Drive (a game it’s late to, if you ask me) and now that Inbox copied most of Mailbox’s features, there’s simply no point in trying to win GMail’s userbase.
The only thing that bugs me with situations like this, i.e., when a big company decides to shut down a niche product (especially a product of an acquired startup), is that they don’t release the technology as an open source project. What could possibly hurt Google to release Sparrow’s source to the community, or Dropbox to do the same with Mailbox? We’ll never know I guess.
FastMail’s servers are in the US: what this means for you
I love the kind of frank disclosure FastMail does here. I’ve been using their service for more than a year now, and I find it exceptional. If you don’t like GMail, or think that having your email hosted by the world’s biggest advertising company isn’t the best idea, you should definitely give FastMail a try.