With social networking sites being as hot as Jessica Alba's behind, everyone is understandably clamoring for a piece of the pie. Google and Yahoo are attempting to muscle their way in, and they hope to do this by creating a semi-social environment right within your inbox. More specifically, both would like to better integrate their personalised homepages with their webmail services, providing an interactive experience that traditional email does not offer. The thinking behind the move; it is easier to build on an existing platform than providing a whole new one. Certainly, that idea is not shared throughout Google given their Android platform; indeed, Facebook may also provide evidence to the contrary.
Joe Kraus from Google's OpenSocial, and Brad Garlinghouse from Yahoo's communication and community division have both expressed interest in such an evolution of user experience. Mr. Garlinghouse provided some solid details on Yahoo's intentions, including features that will lead to email sorting by importance of the sender, based on length of interactions outside of email, such as within IM. The more you communicate with someone across IM, the higher the priority of the mail. Small changes like this are leading to what Mr. Garlinghouse describes as Yahoo's Inbox 2.0. Similar features to Facebook's minified are also being penciled in.
Whether Inbox 2.0 is anything beyond semantics remains to be seen, but all this functionality may actually cause clutter to what an efficient email system is all about: sending and receiving damn emails. [New York Times]