Posts Tagged ‘gmail’

Make Way Fmail, Gmail. All hail Hmail!

Most of us get entangled in the frenzy of the moment, the immediate bickering in our environment.

But the discerning ones amongst us can take a step back, and see clarity in the chaos, a method in the madness, a sublime logic in a torrent of haphazard information, if you will.

What will you make of the mountain of coverage surrounding the recent launch of Fmail (Facebook Messages)? “This spells the death of email!” some say, “Fmail will kill Gmail!” others pitch in, “Apocalypse!!” What are you supposed to make of it all??

Look closely…

Email, Fmail, Gmail……

Can you see it yet? The pattern?

Yes! Evolution, development, progress are what you see! And the logical next step is the series is, you got it, Hmail!

The Evolution of Email

HyperOffice Mail or Hmail brings the next level of what businesses want from email – Email deeply integrated with all the essential productivity tools in the organization. Pundits for years have waited on the death of email (like vultures hovering over a weak animal?). But rather than growing weak with age, becoming passe’, email keeps going from strength to strength.

Yet, the weaknesses of email are widely recognized as well. Email overload is one of the biggest bottlenecks in information worker productivity today. Some of us feel like we spent our entire work lives sifting through our inbox, which fills out faster than we can ever hope to empty it. We are all Sisyphuses trapped for eternity in our inboxes.

Email is evidently ill suited for some purposes – document collaboration, schedule coordination, task tracking and group discussions. Better “collaboration tools” have been invented for a few years now, to best handle each of the above areas – document management, shared calendars, project management and discussion forums respectively. No wonder collaboration tools have become almost universally adopted across businesses.

But such creatures of habit we are, almost Sirenlike, email uses false promises of simplicity to tempt us to use it “just this once”, to delegate a task, share a document, or coordinate a meeting. The torrent of mails that follow has only us to bear!

But what if the other collaboration tools were integrated in the same system as email? What if using the right tool for the right purpose was as simple as using email, since they are in the same system anyway? What if with a single click, you could push information from email into the right system – a task, a document?

That is the promise of Hmail. Collaboration software tools integrated with email, in a single seamless web based system.

Read the following article for detailed benefits of integrated email and collaboration software.

Facebook Mail, Gmail & the future of communication & collaboration software

facebook email killerYes, it is that time of the year again. When everyone predicts the death of email.

As you know, Facebook announced it’s email feature yesterday, or should i say, emailsey feature, because it is not quite email. What is rather unglamorously called Facebook Messages, brings multiple formats of information – email, IM, phone text messages, in a single email style Inbox, and allows you to choose to recieve and send messages in any of these formats. There are no subject lines or CC fields, and all communications from the same person are wrapped in a mega-thread. At an invite only beta stage at this point, FaceBook will allow all users to request an @facebook address once this goes live.

Has email finally found its nemesis?

Facebook Messages give email a “social” spin and are in line with the “ongoing” style of conversations in Facebook. Although Mark Zuckberg emphasized that the new feature is “not an email killer”, this certainly is an effort to piggyback email’s popularity and wean users away from traditional email. Unlike the erstwhile Google Wave, which sought to replace email in epic fashion, Facebook Messages enter in friendly garb through the backdoor, with the covert intention of nudging email out. The Social Newtork would have us believe that it is all the frustration of being dumped by a girl, but clearly, a master strategist’s mind is at work, because this will give Facebook access to a large chunk of email users not yet on Facebook.

But as email has proved time and again, it is not going away. Since Facebook borrows from email’s structure, yet adds to it, there might be a gradual shifting of what people expect from email. You can be sure it will have some amount of success, because of the ready made user base of Facebook.

Fmail and Gmail

As expected, everyone is also assessing the impact of “Fmail” on Gmail, the new age poster boy of consumer email (not quite reflected by its market share). One can’t help but feel a little for Google. Before it could even fully bask in the glory of pushing out Microsoft and Yahoo out of their position of pre eminence, a young whipper snapper in the form of FaceBook has come along nipping at its heels.

Clearly, Facebook is not content with a position of being a mere social network. It seeks to be the internet destination of choice, or the internet ecosystem of choice, if you will, just as Google search has been for close to a decade. It is already well on its way, when it became the #1 most visited site in the US earlier this year.

If Fmail catches on, Gmail is clearly in trouble, in-spite of being the superior email solution, since users want access to all their information at a single place, and clearly social networking is today’s hub. When they spend a majority of their time on Facebook, they will have less of an incentive to leave and go to Gmail for mail, if they can have it right in Facebook.

Is this indicative of the future of business Communication and Collaboration?

Although there are no near term implications of Fmail in businesses, as Facebook is a pure consumer play company for now, one can speculate at its long term impact.

Fmail attempts to break down the barriers between different text based information, and keep everyone in the loop irrespective of device, and preferred mode of communication. This “convergence” and “device independence” is indeed the way of the future, and we ourselves have attempted to achieve this with HyperOffice for the SMB market.

However, for a Facebook/Facebook Messages type solution to work, the structure of businesses itself has to evolve. The very formality that Fmail seeks to get rid of is an important aspect of working in organizations. The stakes of improper communication are low in informal groups, but in businesses, where people communicate across levels of hierarchy, and across organizational boundaries, the stakes are high. The blocked, formal, approach of business email is ideal for this sort of communication. Imagine sending emails without a subject line!

There is of course the necessity for on-going emergent communication, as well as for real time communication and collaboration. Business communication and collaboration software like IM, forums, and document collaboration serve this need. But merging them in all in a unified format may lead to a new kind of chaos.

The sporadic, ongoing, real-time, minimalistic communication that Facebook encourages might be suitable for informal groups, but work groups need to create voluminous and structured information (documents).

Undoubtedly, as the Facebook generation ages, and enters the workforce more and more, they will bring along with them expectations in terms of working styles and tools. However, this will be a gradual and long drawn out process, as structure of organizations evolves to accommodate these new tools. Tools in the meantime, will continue to become more and more social, but only with much caution, when business benefits have clearly been established.

Tools which strike the right balance between socialness and structure will be the winners.