Converging Google Services

The always fabulous Louis Grey makes good points about using GMail in a corporate environment and got me thinking in a different direction.

I begain to consider: Why can’t I share emails the same way I can share RSS entries?

Google Reader allows you to publish all entries you tagged with specific keywords, or you can share entries on an individual basis. Yet, despite the obvious analogue, it’s impossible for me to share email messages or threads in the same manner!

I realize there are some privacy concerns, since RSS & Atom explicitly make things public and email does not. However, there’s no reading I couldn’t use an email to RSS gateway and violate expected convention easily.

I might also argue that by opening up email to the same type of social collaboration we get via Google Reader then the potential would exist to make things more secure.

For example, by adding a default copy-left style licensing, a la creative commons, or a per-email “off the record” flag like Google Talk. There could even be “free to share” delivery options rather then keeping everything on an “honor system”.

About jay

I'm trying to build something interactive where I can learn from others and hopefully share useful knowledge too.
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6 Responses to Converging Google Services

  1. Jason says:

    I would keep an eye on Wave… this surely seems like something it’s capable of, even if it’s not apparent yet.

    • jay says:

      Thanks Jason,
      I think it’s closer but it seems still too much like a “spaghetti” approach (i.e. throw it all in there and let the user sort it out) for me, but I know it’s still a work in progress.

  2. jay says:

    All good thoughts. Chris, I think you’re right that so much could just be shared and you wouldn’t have to have the same darn conversations all over the place. Almost like an email chain should automatically become a blog post and the back and forth become comments.

    Kevin, of course you’re right that some stuff really can’t be shared but I couldn’t even count the number of times I’ve gotten an email / presentation that says something like “please don’t distribute”. I’ve been thinking a lot about just using twitter instead of email and anything longer then 140 characters should be a wiki page to force all the conversations decisions to be public.

    Charlie, Google Wave seems like it will coalesce all your personal communications into a ‘dashboard’ view and you’re right it may give you that power. But I think this is really about taking your personal communiques and giving you a chance to “push” them to the right locations rather than just “pulling” the divergent discussions into one place for you personally.

    Thanks for the thoughts guys!

  3. Charlie says:

    I think Google Wave addresses a lot of what you’re describing here.

  4. Kevin T says:

    Interesting idea. Due to my role, some of my email cannot be shared with other’s, but a lot could (inside the company only, of course).

    One thing my new team is struggling with is using email vs. a sharepoint-hosted discussion board vs. a wiki site for sharing tips and tricks that we’re learning in our new development environment.

    A lot of these group emails belong on a discussion board, but if they start out as email threads, it takes someone being diligent enough to post the content into a wiki and/or discussion board. Being able to ‘export’ an email thread with one click into something like a discussion board, would be nice in some cases.

    Of course, in my company, email sucks because:

    1. It’s lotus notes…
    2. They only allow us so much storage so you’re often deleting stuff just to make space
    3. The lawyers make us adhere to some data retention policy crap, so the more spread out our communications are, the harder it is to delete stuff.

    One thing that helps us though, is that we’re a Scrum team, so daily communication replaces a lot of what we used to email. Faster and quicker to say what you want to announce/discuss vs. email these days.


  5. chris says:

    i absolutely love the notion of using a creative commons license on my email! especially in a work context, it would make my job so much easier.

    really, i would estimate that 50% of my email could be publicly published internally, without any problem or feeling that a confidence had been violated on the part of anyone involved with the email.

    and i bet if those were published, it would dramatically reduce my email volume over time. great thoughts jay!

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