Friday, March 29, 2013

Email as messaging system

I ran into Sachin Agarwal's blog about how email is the de-facto standard messaging system of Internet.  I totally agree.  Email is a very simple tool that everyone understands.  Although I hate using email as collaboration tool, email has its killer use case, and it is here to stay.

I can think of the following compelling reasons why email is not going away.

1. Email has a very powerful analogy in real world: snail mail that you get in your mailbox.

Everyone understands email.  Even to someone who has never been on the internet (it's hard to imagine, but try...), we have a simple analogy to explain what email is.  It's a mail sent and received electronically from computer to computer.  It works just like mail.  You write a message, write the recipient's address, and click send.  It gets magically delivered to the recipient.  Just like a mail, without the hassle of worrying about stamp.

2. Email was the first messaging application created at the beginning of Internet that spans the entire  net.

One of the first thing that people thought of when they created network of computers was to write email application.  Sending and receiving messages was something that everyone wanted to do.  These days everyone on Internet has one or more email addresses.  It's available to everyone on Internet regardless of which ISP, country, device and internet connectivity.  It's a truly universal communication channel.

3. Email is free.

Thanks to free webmail sites, email is free to everyone who has access to Internet.  If you have access to internet, anyone can create an email account.  Not only that sending email is free.  Sender does not have to worry about stamps.

4. It is personal and private.

Email is inherently personal and private because it is sent by you to a clear set of recipients.  Although there have been explosion of social media, the need to communicate with people personally and privately remains.

For any application, there is a need to communicate with end users.  Despite Facebook and Twitter accounts, the reason why email is important is because of the above reasons.  When a service needs to reach all its users in personal and private manner without having to worry about how the users will consume the message, it must be the email.

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