Microsoft has launched a new experimental iPhone app called Send and on paper it makes a lot of sense. “Send gives you the simple, quick text message-like experience” according to the company marketing material and is “built specifically for those brief, snappy communications—Send, designed for in-and-out email.” It is not quite the same, but back in 2007, in a column for Business 2.0, I pointed out that we should create different messaging mediums for different kind of messages.
Email as a platform has been under leveraged mostly because people (read engineers and product managers) who work on email systems tend to bloat them with features because they want to appease the largest addressable audience — even GMail is a beast compared to what it used to be — a really fast and really simple mail system. (It has other problems too! )
Others such as Mailbox have tried to make the mailbox smarter, with varying degree of success. But no one has thought about using the back end email server and adapting it to basic behaviors.
For example, we are all guilty of sending and replying to emails that are barely one or two lines long. Sometimes even smaller — you know when you say NP or OK! Such email threads can be frustrating, feel heavy and leave you angry because they add to inbox clutter. Send, the app, leverages our existing condition around new Internet messaging behaviors and marries them to email.
Microsoft which owns the “Outlook” platform can experiment a lot with new kinds of messaging behaviors on top of its backend communication server technologies. Send isn’t for everyone — you need iOS and need to have an Office 365 account.
Even so, Send is smart idea — now Microsoft needs to make sure it doesn’t become bulky and infested with too many features. Of course I would love to see Google do something similar with its Gmail platform. My excitement doesn’t and shouldn’t mask the fact that email is an addiction worse than carbs. We are too lazy to give up on bad behaviors!
PS #1: I was seriously skeptical of Microsoft’s mobile inabilities. I am fractionally less skeptical after seeing this app in action.
PS #2: There is a slew of apps similar to Send. Mailtime and TL:DR for example they are trying to make email minimal and work with diverse email platforms. TL:DR is quite well executed and works well for the Google platform. It has found extremely valuable real estate on my home screen.
PS#3: If you want to leave a comment, share your review of the app(s) or in general want to read community banter, come visit my Facebook page where we are talking about this story.