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What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the so-much-more-free-time dept.

Communications 314

jfruh writes "Pundits have been gleefully predicting the death of email for years, but nobody has really been able to explain what will replace email, especially for the medium's archiving capabilities that businesses and governments have come to rely on. It's possible that email won't vanish, but rather become invisible, one component of an integrated communication stream that will be transparent to users but still present — and useful — under the hood. It may turn out that Google's Wave, which was built on this idea, was just a bit ahead of its time."

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314 comments

If my work inbox is any indication... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149043)

It isn't going away soon.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (2)

jakimfett (2629943) | about 2 years ago | (#40149075)

If anything, I think that email will lean more and more towards the gchat/facebook chat direction, where instead of having discrete "emails" we will have "conversations".

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (5, Interesting)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | about 2 years ago | (#40149341)

My email has been 'a conversation' since the I first used it in the early 90's. Maybe with some of the more crippled web based services people are now suffering with it's not so obvious. Stuff like Gmail feels like a step back from the threaded clients I've used for all that time, too much missing or poorly implemented.

When people ask whether email is going away I'm completely dumbfounded. It ain't broke and IMHO works better than the alternatives where absolute, instant response isn't needed. Mostly it's not noticeably slower anyway. When I desperately need a little more speed IM does a good imitation of a very poorly featured email exchange.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (1)

jakimfett (2629943) | about 2 years ago | (#40149671)

I don't think email is going away any time soon, hence how I started my comment with "if anything". I definitely agree with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality (although not if it's stifling innovation...fine line you have to walk with this one).

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (3, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | about 2 years ago | (#40149847)

See, I think that email is broken, and that we've been patching it for over a decade to try to maintain usability. All the spam, all the broken clients, all the broken servers, all the phishing...it was built when there was a great deal of trust between providers, and when that trust was broken, email was broken.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149925)

sounds like a user problem to me. I've had email since 1992 and never had any of those problems. noobs, gotta love 'em.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (4, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#40149497)

I think you are right, though the key differentiator is not chatty vs. discrete messages. Chat done right can solve a number of problems that email has:

- Email sucks as an archive. It's fine to store personal emails just for yourself, but when you dig deep and assess how much critical corporate knowledge is locked away in this multitude of personal archives of all employees, you'll be in for a shock. A Twitter-like chat system for corporations (like Yammer) will retain that knowledge for the right group, including its future members. I find that only a small part of my conversation is actually really private between me and someone else. Most of it will be relevant for my team, for another team, for a special interest group within the company, or for the company as a whole. In a corporate Twitter, asking for knowledge is automatically the same as sharing it, as soon as an answer is given. In email, any answer is lost for everyone but yourself.

- Email is fine for communicating 1 to 1 or 1 to many, but it is a poor vehicle for many-to-many conversations. Chat systems (again citing Yammer as an example... by the way I have nothing to do with Yammer except that my current client uses it) can solve this by having private, ad-hoc chat groups in which participants can be invited or drop out as needed. New joiners will see a clear, linear history of what has already been discussed, instead of a steaming pile of replies-to-replies-to-replies in multiple sub-threads, all intertwined in a single email exchange.

In our team, we've tried sticking to the rule that forbids the use of email for anything that will still be relevant one week from the day of sending. The idea is that any such messages belong to the corporate memory, which means email is out as a vehicle for storing it. Instead, people use Yammer or email links to documents stored in a central repository. It worked out quite well, both improving recall from our corporate memory, keeping everyone on the same page and aware of each others' work, and improving the quality of discussions by electronic means.
But we too found that it is extremely hard to break the email habit. One thing that email still has going for it in the corporation is that everyone has it, and everyone is expected to read it several times a day. You might get told of for missing an important email, but being told off for missing an important discussion on some social media thingy? We're not quite there yet.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149601)

In most organizations, the whole email reply chain exists so that workerbees can summon the higher authorities. "I'm gunna cc: my boss!" "Now you've done it, I'm cc:ing my boss' boss!". The bosses can then digest the conversation and come to a decision at their leisure. I have no idea how that would work with a chat/IM system.

We've had good luck using Basecamp; it is essentially email except with a web interface to locate previous conversations, documents, etc.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149995)

Yes, that will work well... until Yammer, etc, falls out of use and all of a sudden your "corporate memory" is locked behind an inaccessible gateway or simply lost forever due to obsolescence. I'd rather setup my own corporate NNTP server if I was concerned about long-term storage and retrieval. If I was concerned about ease of use, a slick interface, and a heavy dose of cachet, I might choose... Yammer.

And you're confusing the e-mail GUI with "e-mail". You're forgetting the large stack of protocols and software beneath it all, a stack that has proved remarkably resilient--yet sufficient--despite being quite obviously clunky for all the tasks put to it. If Yammer is to stick around it's will inevitably be forced by corporations to export its log of data as e-mail archives.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149641)

I hope not. While I appreciate the potential of nearly instantaneous exchanges, I don't want that to become the expected norm. If someone communicates with me in the morning, unless I see "ASAP" in the communication, I feel free to reply when it's more convenient. I don't necessarily wish to chat -- if I did, I'd pick up the phone.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40149931)

I doubt that; email is pretty versatile, and sometimes the latency is a good thing. Consider the following:
  1. I can download some email, then read and reply to those emails when I do not have Internet access.
  2. Sometimes I need some time to think about how to answer a message, and instant messaging systems encourage quick answers (and people sometimes worry if you take too long to reply).
  3. Email does not require any particular kind of network or even infrastructure to send; there are places in the world where email is propagated on thumb drives carried by couriers, and only makes it to the Internet if the courier can find access somewhere.

So yeah, I think email is going to stick around for a long time, probably forever, without merging with instant messaging. IM is great for low-latency conversations, but there is more to communication than that.

Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (2)

jakimfett (2629943) | about 2 years ago | (#40149987)

..I think email is going to stick around for a long time, probably forever, without merging with instant messaging. IM is great for low-latency conversations, but there is more to communication than that.

I was agreeing with this...hence me saying "If anything". Apparently my attempts to express skepticism of the OP (Email is going away soon) were not properly communicated...

That's funny (4, Insightful)

doston (2372830) | about 2 years ago | (#40149049)

I've been emailing back and forth with multiple businesses today. It's not even time to talk about the death of snail mail yet, so why would it be time to talk about the death of SMTP? I say Bah!

Re:That's funny (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40149421)

If you're trying to market yet another social networking chat box, you need to convince people email is on the way out.

Re:That's funny (3, Funny)

htnmmo (1454573) | about 2 years ago | (#40149545)

Very true.

If it wasn't for email I wouldn't even know about all these new social networks that are constantly springing up.

Re:That's funny (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149569)

My thoughts, exactly. There might be a different PROTOCOL, but there will ALWAYS be email. I contact my friends via email (because not everything is appropriate for IM or TXT), every website requires it for validation and registration. And, most importantly, I go through hundreds (500-ish) of emails a day at work just for our engineering/dev aliases and dealing directly with our clients. Quite simply, without email, I wouldn't remain in contact with all the people I have where they're good friends, but not people I talk to every week or even every month. And what we do for a living would absolutely not work.

As long as... (1, Insightful)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | about 2 years ago | (#40149061)

As long as mid level execs feel that email is an instant, unlimited capacity communication channel that saves everything for ever but is still secure and reliable with 24/7 5-9's uptime, email will be around.

I've been waiting to kill email for years, and they won't let me do it.

Re:As long as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149109)

why not just make it what they think it should be? sounds good to me.

Re:As long as... (4, Insightful)

kwalker (1383) | about 2 years ago | (#40149127)

Before you can kill something useful, there must be a replacement. What do you suggest as a replacement?

Re:As long as... (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#40149657)

One thing that gets much better results then emailing each other is walking up to their desk (without sending a meeting request, mind you) and talk to them. Yes! In person.

Instead of doing the 20 questions (meaning 20 mails) I have a conversation. Sometimes people are too far away (e.g. in another country) and then I call them. On the phone. We have a conversation of 5-15 minutes and we are BOTH clear what we want and need.

Sure, sometimes we need a trail and one send an email like: According to our conversation, we agree such and this and that.

In my personal life, I sms people to meet and we talk in person.

So I suggest personal contact as a replacement with some web interface to keep records if you need it for any legal reason.

Re:As long as... (2)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | about 2 years ago | (#40149831)

...and often the conversation is to organise meetings of groups of people. Groups that may first be simultaneously available at the time you arrange. That's true even in offices. I'll agree that automatically picking email for every conversation in a workplace is insane though.

Phone calls and personal meetings are not always interchangeable with email, they serve different, if overlapping purposes.

Re:As long as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149921)

You try that shit around here and I'll punch you right in the face.

Unless you're the boss, you need MY permission to steal MY time with your inane questions.

Well (5, Funny)

Spad (470073) | about 2 years ago | (#40149089)

Presumably it will join the keyboard and mouse, which have apparently been just about to become obsolete for most of the last 15 years.

Not that it will matter, of course, because the Internet is mere weeks away from becoming catastrophically overloaded & falling apart and it has been for years.

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | about 2 years ago | (#40149401)

Don't forget the 'Paperless Office', they have predicting ever since the invention of the computer. Last I look, most offices produce more paper not than they did 10 years ago.

Re:Well (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#40149537)

Yep. I've worked in two "paperless offices" so far, and what happened was that people ended up having to print out everything anyway. For one thing, it's easier to get someone to sign a sheet of paper in blue ink and just tuck it away in an HR folder than it is to implement safe digital signatures most places. If you're having a discussion about a complex help desk ticket, and you want someone to take a look at the specific ticket but it's nearly identical to twelve other tickets, you have to write down the ticket number... or hey, just print out the ticket and hand it to them (as my boss did to me twice this morning.) And heaven help you if the Internet goes down and you're using SaaS. Suddenly, everything has to go into temporary Word files... which are later on printed out so they can be entered into the system properly.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149455)

Internet is mere weeks away from becoming catastrophically overloaded & falling apart and it has been for years.

Collapse of the Internet imminent. PNGs at 11.

What's email? (5, Insightful)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 2 years ago | (#40149107)

Is it defined as messages sent via SMTP? Or just electronic messages?
There was email before SMTP, there will be email after SMTP. Messages between two users on a BBS was email, messages between a couple of users on facebook is email. So, no, it won't go away.

Re:What's email? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149245)

No the later is Instant Messaging, and it's closer to IRC than email. The concept of "e-mail" implies an electronic version of mailing, which means you have an "envelope" (or box) which is handed to a server that routes it to the right post office, which in turn can distribute those messages to the appropriate people.
If it stops fitting that pipeline (prepare letter -> send -> route -> distribute), then it wouldn't really be e-mail anymore, it would be something else that, at best, is similar to e-mail. ;P

I also don't think posts on a public board (or facebook profile) count as e-mail either.

Re:What's email? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about 2 years ago | (#40149289)

The cross-BBS networks would count as email under your definition. Probably not leaving notes between users on a single board, though.

Re:What's email? (5, Insightful)

scrib (1277042) | about 2 years ago | (#40149331)

By that logic, email existed before the telephone. They just called it a "telegram."

Re:What's email? (2)

Malvineous (1459757) | about 2 years ago | (#40149417)

I think e-mail would be defined as having two features, similar to the postal service. In a properly configured system, a message would never be lost. It would either be delivered or returned to the sender. It would also allow routing through multiple systems (and not necessarily TCP/IP ones) in order to arrive at its destination.

Instant messaging doesn't count as e-mail because most IM systems don't guarantee delivery, so you're lucky if your failed message doesn't get lost forever. They are also centralised, and even Jabber servers connect directly to one another so the concept of routing messages through many mailhubs doesn't generally apply (of course it's possible to do all this, but most IM services don't.)

Re:What's email? (4, Insightful)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#40149521)

> messages between a couple of users on facebook is email

Facebook, Google Wave, AOL, ICQ, Yahoo messenger.. services like these come and go, the SMTP email stays. More importantly email is an established open standard and it is part of the very blueprint of the Internet, the RFCs. And unlike Facebook or Google services, email is not controlled by some messages monetizing 3rd parties.

What would a post-pundit world look like? (5, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#40149147)

A guy can dream. . .

Re:What would a post-pundit world look like? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149299)

Fallout 3 ?

Re:What would a post-pundit world look like? (1, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#40149301)

t would be a world where everyone is better informed and not parroting the opinion of a talking head they saw last night.

Re:What would a post-pundit world look like? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149773)

Well, at least that's what Rachel Maddow told you, amirite?!

Natural progressions (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40149159)

E-mail will replace regular mail. It's been a slow process, but the Post Office (in the US and Britain; I can't speak for other countries) is starting to cut back; The majority of what is being sent out are physical goods and junk mail (advertising). Many people here have switched to online bill pay, and most banks offer automatic payment if the company (rarely) doesn't do bill to credit card.

Party lines gave way to single user land lines, and single user landlines gave way to cell phones. Cell phones are now giving way to text-based near realtime communication like text messages. And cell phones will eventually transition to packet-switched radio communications using VoIP and QoS.

The only thing slowing down these technologies are companies that don't want to lose the massive profits they're getting from already deployed infrastructure; They employ a wide variety of legal and financial methods to ensure that competing/replacing technology as slowly as possible.

Re:Natural progressions (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40149379)

E-mail will replace regular mail.

As long as you cannot deliver physical goods over the net, regular mail will exist, even if it is reduced mostly to parcels.

Re:Natural progressions (1)

Antarell (930241) | about 2 years ago | (#40149493)

E-mail will replace regular mail. It's been a slow process, but the Post Office (in the US and Britain; I can't speak for other countries) is starting to cut back; The majority of what is being sent out are physical goods and junk mail (advertising). Many people here have switched to online bill pay, and most banks offer automatic payment if the company (rarely) doesn't do bill to credit card.

I can say Australia Post is becoming more of a courier company than postal service. They are now pushing an "Digital mail box [auspost.com.au]" service to "Receive - Your own digital mailbox to securely receive important mail. Pay - Easy payment of your bills. Store - Private and secure storage for your important documents"

I don't think anyone has told them this is called email/electronic banking and has been around for years!

Not wave (3, Insightful)

frisket (149522) | about 2 years ago | (#40149161)

It may turn out that Google's Wave, which was built on this idea, was just a bit ahead of its time.

Nonsense. Wave was just a threaded BB, much inferior to a News client, but graphical, so therefore cooler.

Re:Not wave (2)

2.7182 (819680) | about 2 years ago | (#40149433)

I never understood Wave. And I think that was typical of the problem Google had with it - no one really knew what the main idea was. I understood a few key things it could do, which were cool, but I am not sure if it was ahead of its time or if it just really was an ill defined mish mosh of concepts.

Re:Not wave (1)

manoweb (1993306) | about 2 years ago | (#40149849)

Wave was an excellent tool. We used it intensely, and it was great. We love to rganize trips and hikes in the desert. There is a core of people that almost always joins and several others that come in every so often. It was great to have a tool that lets add people, organize, tidy up, add maps, lists, links, polls etc etc. It was possible to work together at the same time and it would highlight the new or unread areas and who modified them. Doing the same over email + a shared Google Doc Spreadsheet now is so much more complicated.

Video mail will replace email. (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#40149183)

At this point the text based email will slowly be phased out as multimedia video and audio are phased in until email is unrecognizable. Skype for instance may be the email replacement.

Re:Video mail will replace email. (2)

Spad (470073) | about 2 years ago | (#40149285)

Ah, video calls, I believe they're due to become a dominant technological force a couple of weeks after Virtual Reality does.

Re:Video mail will replace email. (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40149499)

Because having jerking video and audio that sounds like it's coming from the bottom of a barrel is the future of communications.

Re:Video mail will replace email. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149867)

No it doesn't, but if you had actually used Skype in the past 5 years you'd know that what you just said is complete bullshit. There's good quality video, and good quality audio now, you just need the equipment for it and a decent internet connection.

Re:Video mail will replace email. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149603)

That's retarded. I work for a company that has a massive deployment (not to mention, development investment) in tele-presence. Even we don't use it. We communicate by IM and email and we conduct our meetings not with telepresence but by email. And I certainly don't help our clients via "videomail". I communicate with them via email (or phone on occasion) as per their preference.

People already have video on any smart phone, too. Nobody uses it.

Maybe something will replace email for CHILDREN between the ages of 10 and 15 or 20, but everyone after that will still use email, because it's a necessary system for communication that nothing else can provide or accomplish. People who have some stupid fetish to abandon it are just fucking morons.

i have an idea! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149189)

Let's take a proven, non-centralized, robust, simple, optionally private, easily implemented, open standard that anyone implement from the RFCs, and anyone can run on their very own computer, and replace it with something centrally controlled, ideally by the UN, US, EU, or Coast Guard, proprietary, make it that people cannot reasonably run their own servers, or implement it from scratch. Bonus points if it can be another vector to deliver advertizements to eyeballs, and tightly controlled so those ads cannot be blocked by end users.

That should fit pretty well with the direction the internet has been going.

Re:i have an idea! (2)

Iskender (1040286) | about 2 years ago | (#40149419)

Haven't spam and spam countermeasures already made the effort of running your own mailserver unreasonable? At least I've heard that you'll be basically blocked either by default or after a while.

Add to that malware which just loves the idea of a spare mailserver whose owner works elsewhere most of the time and the fact that it's hard to even get ONE static IP these days and suddenly the current system is already the domain of large organizations (and a few super-nerds who are there mostly through inertia.)

Re:i have an idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149533)

Spam... I must say in all honestly that I completely forgot about spam, since the last one I received was in the 1990's. I don't filter, I just practice good discipline with who I give my address to, and make a throw-away account for all the random web-forum sort of crap that wants an email address.

Honestly, I think spam isn't a big problem any more. With just a little bit of care, you don't ever have to get onto those lists to begin with.

Re:i have an idea! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40149613)

If you have the brains to set up a mail server, setting up SpamAssassin is pretty easy.

Re:i have an idea! (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#40149899)

Step 1: Setup an e-mail server.
Step 2. Create PTR (reverse DNS record).
Step 3. Create an SPF record (TXT DNS record)
Step 4 (optional): Use a hosted e-mail security service to filter the SPAM for you.
Step 5 (optional): White list SMTP traffic only coming from your hosted e-mail service provider. Block all outbound SMTP traffic from inside your local IP subnet.

Results: Virtually little to no spam and no chance of being blacklisted on an RBL list from an infected machine inside your network.

Yes. I do this for a living as a network consultant.

Re:i have an idea! (1)

addie (470476) | about 2 years ago | (#40149687)

Exactly right.

I constantly harass my friends to stop contacting me via facebook (which I enjoy for other reasons) and just use email instead. I can keep all my messages centralized, filed, and secured. The FB messaging service is, of course, a complete joke. But even if it was brilliantly designed and my privacy fears allayed, what happens when FB disappears and the next big thing comes along? Are all those messages gone? Will there be a way to export them in an open format? Somehow I doubt it.

Email is a fundamental part of the internet, and I don't see it going anywhere. At least, I damn well hope it doesn't - because as you point out, the alternative is frightening.

What's email? (4, Interesting)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 2 years ago | (#40149209)

I don't email directly anymore, I post on G+, recipients receive it in whatever means they favor, email, text notice, online, G+ account, whatever. If they don't have a google account, it goes to their email.

So yeah, email has become transparent to me. I receive next to no correspondence through it.

That is the beauty of improved technology, making my life easier. It's been so horrible since we've moved away from landline phones and two standard methods of contact became mail/phone/fax/mobile/voicemail/SMS/email/web contact form/Twitter and who knows through which of those you'd get a response.

I'm glad to return to the one stop shop.

Re:What's email? (1)

Mex (191941) | about 2 years ago | (#40149873)

I don't email directly anymore, I post on G+, recipients receive it in whatever means they favor, email, text notice, online, G+ account, whatever. If they don't have a google account, it goes to their email.

What happens if Google decides they don't like you and you get banned from their service?

Re: What Would a Post-Email World Look Like? (1)

carnalforge (1207648) | about 2 years ago | (#40149253)

It will resemble a world without UUCP, BBS, IRC or (heh) ICQ.

It's the norm now, except for people who knows what SMTP(S) / POP3(S) / IMAP(S) or a MUA etc is.

Email (2)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | about 2 years ago | (#40149287)

One of the things I really like about email, and it may at least be partially true unless your with gmail or hotmail, that you know no one is sniffing through your data. I know that I may dillusional, but at least I'm pretty sure that marketing guys won't be filtering my email looking for ways to sell me things they think i'll want. I don't understand all these people that are willing to give up all their information for coupons and discounts. I guess i'm just old.

Google Wave (2)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 2 years ago | (#40149313)

Google didn't pull the plug on Wave because it didn't work, it just didn't fit into their business model. The wave protocol is federated, while all other Google services are centralized, Google relies upon all traffic coming through them for skimming revenue from their users. This is why they killed wave and even when it was style in hype mode refused to release a user installable client (free or otherwise). However, the ideas behind wave, most importantly that it allows rich real-time communication with automatic archiving of history make it a powerful evolution of email/instant messaging. Rot in your capitalist filth Google, long live Wave!

Intels will never let it die (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149325)

As lone as governments have their insatiable desire to snoop on every word that their citizens speak and type, there will be email. Or at least until every citizen gets smart and begins to encrypt their mail. I even go a further step and use an anonymous email system. No one knows who I am emailing and no one knows who is emailing me. Google mixnym.net, Quicksilver remail client, AAMhSub.

"Pundits" are Plentiful Idiots (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#40149355)

They just like to hear themselves talk. It doesn't mean the know anything.

Email is better than twitter, better than facebleck, better than phone, better than texting, better than in person. Email is queued. I can respond to it in my time in the detail level I wish. Email is the best communication tool.

Just a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149359)

I had this though in reference to the recent article listed on /. THey want to allow SMS to 911. I have personally had messages disappear for weeks before being delivered (ty Verizon). But I think of all the existing tech SMS could (with a bit of security and reliability piled on) has the potential to replace email... but it is a long way off. Death to snail mail comes first.

Re:Just a thought (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 2 years ago | (#40149437)

What does SMS do better then email? It seems inferior in every way. I imagine SMS will die before email does, replaced by IM clients on smart phones.

"integrated communication stream?" (1)

martas (1439879) | about 2 years ago | (#40149371)

"integrated communication stream"? Is this the latest in manager-speak bullshit? That being said, there are some needs that today's email, even with great interfaces like gmail, either doesn't meet or meets awkwardly and with annoying hacks. Group discussions still have the tendency to turn into a clusterfuck, even with gmail-style nice thread view. And it would be nice if I could, say, create a category of "XXX class homework 4 submissions" and give some way for my students to submit directly to that category so I don't have to manually assign labels to all 45 submissions, and maybe share all submissions with the other TA's (the only alternative for me being blackboard, and I refuse to rely on that pile of bloated rotting carcasses)...

Re:"integrated communication stream?" (1)

rockout (1039072) | about 2 years ago | (#40149775)

"integrated communication stream"? Is this the latest in manager-speak bullshit?

Yes.

Re:"integrated communication stream?" (1)

tomtomtom (580791) | about 2 years ago | (#40149905)

And it would be nice if I could, say, create a category of "XXX class homework 4 submissions" and give some way for my students to submit directly to that category so I don't have to manually assign labels to all 45 submissions, and maybe share all submissions with the other TA's (the only alternative for me being blackboard, and I refuse to rely on that pile of bloated rotting carcasses)...

Add + and a label to your email address before the @ sign. Filter based on this (maybe forward to an email list or some such). I honestly don't understand why more people don't know about this. Or go and create your own mailing list with its own address - again possible with minimal hassle.

Decentralization (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about 2 years ago | (#40149395)

All these other schemes tend to cluster around particular servers or owned infrastructure. Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Google's stuff, etc live and die on the company supporting it. If Google had made good on their promises and released their federated Wave servers, that might have been one launching point where something new could have come around. (Wave in and of itself didn't seem that great, but offered an reasonable point of more complex integration.)

But until some actual, open system that supports delayed delivery and large messages with attachments across personally-managed independent servers, I don't think any of them will encroach on the more formal uses of email.

Re:Decentralization (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 2 years ago | (#40149541)

What do you mean if Google made good on their promise? They did release all the necessary code to run Wave servers.

Re:Decentralization (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about 2 years ago | (#40149663)

Huh, I guess they did. I know they were holding out on that, for some reason, back when people actually were interested in Wave and Google was still promoting it.

Is anybody doing anything with it? As heavyweight as it is, with Google effectively dropping it I'm not sure how many people would actually embrace it lone-wolf style.

Re:Decentralization (1)

wrt (530301) | about 2 years ago | (#40149811)

My friends call me a luddite, as I choose email over more centralized "social" ecosystems. Maybe they are right...but I would like to argue my reasons.

With email I am in greater control of the signal to noise ratio of my inbox through fine-grained filtering. I can make decisions over the privacy of my conversations by enforcing encryption and authentication. I can choose whether or not I am a marketing product. This freedom is made possible by open protocols implemented by a large set of clients and providers from which I can choose the most suitable.

I sincerely hope that SMTP will not go the way of NNTP.

You select the right tool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149413)

.... for the job.

Electronic/Digital Mail, will it go away? (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 2 years ago | (#40149451)

I can't see it "going away", globally... in every niche area.

A system whereby you enclose a message and propose a recipient or recipients,
and both sender and recipient have copies that can be saved. I can't see that,
going away entirely, without something that addresses everything that email
can do AND fix everything it can't do, or does poorly.

As far as mainstream for the 'everyman', it has already gone away folks.
You just haven't realized it yet.

-AI

Sigh... I miss "Wave" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149453)

Such a good idea, handled so badly...

Google Wave is still the single best example of what a really social app would look and act like. And the framework was so well set up... I miss it. But hopefully like HyperCard it's ideas will end up sort of working their way into other systems over time.

Email's replacement will just be more secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149459)

Email's replacement will rely heavily on PKI. You'll encrypt the message with recipient's public key (and optionally sign it with a private key). The recipient's mail agent will immediately reject anything that he can't decode with his private key, and everyone will have a white list of the public keys of preferred senders. In most cases, you'll end up in SPAM if you don't sign it or if you're not on the white list.

Now suppose you "cold mailed" someone you know, and your message ended up in their spam folder because you're not on the white list. Not to worry! Just contact them through some other means and tell them your public key. They'll be able to insert the key into their mail agent, and it'll automatically recover your message from the spam folder into their inbox.

Re:Email's replacement will just be more secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149527)

In case it wasn't obvious, Facebook (or its replacement) will likely serve as the "other means," since it will have a built-in web of trust.

Post Email?? (1)

mgichoga (901761) | about 2 years ago | (#40149463)

What death is he talking about? E-mail's life cycle will come full circle - we'll go back to the old reliable pine.

"What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149483)

"Hey, Dave"
"Hey, dude"
*shakes hand*
"Buy you a beer?"
"Sure!"
*buys dude a beer*
"So where shall we sit?"
"How about on the deck?"
"Sure. So what you been up to?" ...

Re:"What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?" (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 2 years ago | (#40149563)

"Hey, Dave"
"Hey, dude"
*shakes hand*

Shame you posted this AC...

it is a very insightful look into something that is missing from
a lot of people's lives.

-AI

Re:"What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149757)

"Shame you posted this AC..."

I stopped posting logged in. I realized my ego was starting to interfere with the content of my posts. No identity, no ego to feed.

Beside, posting anonymously didn't seem to hinder your ability to see my point.

Re:"What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?" (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 2 years ago | (#40149857)

Beside, posting anonymously didn't seem to hinder your ability to see my point.

My desire to see a gleaming gem occasionally, has me still perusing at '0'.

At least it's up to 1 now.

-AI

I'm still waiting for FAXes to die (4, Interesting)

unimacs (597299) | about 2 years ago | (#40149485)

I think the older generation like myself still prefer email to texting. Personally, I like email because an immediate response is not expected. I'm much funnier when I have time to think about it. ;-)

I'm also less likely to say something I'll regret later and there is a record. In my opinion there will always be room for that type of communication.

Younger people seem to prefer texting or Skype because communication is more real-time and it's easier to include more people. It also allows them to be braver than they would be over the phone. This is not always good.

Re:I'm still waiting for FAXes to die (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 2 years ago | (#40149597)

OMFG... faxes.... as a former residential real estate agent... I cringed daily as I had
to keep up the dead tree ritual to make everyone happy.

I was fully equipped for pdf and docusign. But there were still a few steps that almost
everyone universally demanded dead trees be involved.

I hope the tablet revolution has changed that. Any current RE's? Is your MLS at least
browser friendly now? And you don't have to print those out too.

-AI

Re:I'm still waiting for FAXes to die (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about 2 years ago | (#40149725)

While I'm old and I like my email, the one good thing about IM-like systems is that group chats easily contain their context in the scrollback, and when dealing with professionals, can be kept concise and on-topic with a fairly large number of participants. Email lists tend toward late responses and thread fragmentation given the same usage scenario.

Last I checked... (1)

korgitser (1809018) | about 2 years ago | (#40149565)

...it looked like google wave. But I guess that wasn't future enough.

Now that I thought about it for a couple of minutes, the future of e-mail consists solely of the X-Thread-Id header, which will finally allow to properly sort the friggin' archives. A quick google says that X-Thread-Id has already been proposed by someone in '09!

Once implemented, it will make e-mail 'feature-complete', which translates into english roughly as 'old, boring and forgotten'. After that it will be mostly impossible to get work done, so everyone will become a hipster or die grumpy. Thus the end of our beloved civilization, and the rise of the planet of apes or whatever.

It's called Facebook (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40149621)

Email is for work
But for non work communication its Facebook
10 years ago all the stupid jokes and pictures were emailed to friends. Today they are shared on Facebook

How (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 years ago | (#40149693)

Its a bit like those History/NATGEO programs about 'Life After People' - the whole question is, what happened to the people will determine what it would look like.
The main thing that will cause the end of email is a disaster that would wipe out civilization. (Gamma Ray Burst,, dinosaur killer asteroid, supervolcano, genetically engineered plague, or Vogon Constructor fleet etc.

Mail and Packages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149755)

There is no need for junk mail, bills, etc. via the postal service. The need is the transport of material goods.

eMail...email...? (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | about 2 years ago | (#40149781)

Email has a human form factor appropriate for non-audio human communication.

Email is a direct decedent of chipped-stone and clay-tablets. Humans' need a language (audio, visual ...), and society needs records and documents.

IOW: Written email (stone, clay, paper ...) will continue to evolve, until societies crumble and humans go extinct.

What is the next step in societies creating records and documents for transmission (print-share-keep mail, telegraph, email ...)? Maybe we will call it eGraph or ether-image, but the basic human purpose/need will be continued.

Email won't vanish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40149911)

Email will always have its place as a message that I send to you. It's the electronic equivalent of a letter.

Sure, I use other tools for other things - I often have conversations with some kind of instant message system, rather than email (but 15 years ago I was having these conversations with talk - not email). Facebook is the electronic equivalent of sitting out on the street chatting with your friends.

And here's the thing - I don't want all my communication to seamlessly fall into the same place. If you have to speak to me right now, and it's important, I want you to phone me. If you don't need an answer right now, I don't want my phone to ring - I want an email, so I can answer at a time that it convenient for me. If I want to sit on the front porch and shoot the shit, I'll go to my front porch - I don't want my porch to interrupt me while I'm doing something else.

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