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Is this the future of email?

Sorting through the email inbox can be tedious, but all that could be about to change…

Are we entering a new age of innovation? One that changes the focus from opening as many streams of communication as possible to one intent on streamlining all the available channels and helping everyone organise the masses of content we now see on a daily basis?

If three young Australians are right, the answer is a definite ‘Yes!’. And surprisingly, it is email – in many ways the progenitor of social media and online content, but now largely viewed as a necessary evil rather than a fluid, intuitive and fun means of communication – that is leading the charge.

The Aussies in question are Cameron Adams, Dhanji Prasanna and Jochen Bekmann, three former Google employees who have left the search giant (apparently frustrated at the company’s work culture) to work on Fluent, which they claim will not only allow people to deal with their inboxes ’20 per cent faster’, but also fix the ‘stagnated’ service.

According to the trio’s blog, Fluent has been born ‘out of a desire to create a communication product that is design-led, fast moving and – most importantly – pushes email into the future. A tool that accurately reflects how people communicate today and will adapt to what they want tomorrow… Fluent is all about you and how you communicate.’

To achieve this laudable goal, Fluent’s creators say six overriding principles have been employed:

  • Simple conversations;
  • Streamlined workflow;
  • Access anywhere;
  • Beautiful design;
  • Seamless experience for desktops, small screens and touch devices;
  • Communicating in the best way possible.
Check out the ’98-second introduction to Fluent’ to get a fuller idea of how it’s going to work…

Inspired by social media

And if you think the look of Fluent is familiar, that’s because it is. Working with Gmail (although it will be integrated with other email services like Hotmail down the track), Fluent displays emails – and, importantly, their content – in a user-friendly stream similar to Facebook and Twitter.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Adams explained how the intention has been to allow users to work more quickly through their emails: ‘Rather than having to receive a message, look at the subject, click on it, read the conversation and then decide what to do, we sort of present you with the information that you need to immediately [take] action on it.’

Users are also able to quickly browse attachments through a slideshow and the ability to search whilst typing – a development clearly inspired by how the Google search engine now operates. It also allows users to check multiple accounts at the same time, which Adams believes will be of particular benefit to ‘independent professionals and small businesses’.

These developments are not without their sceptics, but by offering them – plus the ability to search via a timeline – to time-poor users, it stands every chance of being successful.

 

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