#email

Lucy Mangan:

Under the deal, which affects around 250,000 employees in the technology and consultancy sectors (including the French arms of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC), employees will also have to resist the temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones – or any other kind of malevolent intrusion into the time they have been nationally mandated to spend on whatever the French call la dolce vita. And companies must ensure that their employees come under no pressure to do so. Thus the spirit of the law – and of France – as well as the letter shall be observed.

While the initial headlines overplayed it, this is still pretty great. And very French. Viva la email resistance! 

Team Mailbox:

Today, we’re proud to announce a new service built directly into Mailbox that learns from your swipes and snoozes to automate common actions. Mute that thread you don’t care about, snooze messages from your friends until after work, and route receipts to a list — automatically. We call this service Auto-swipe.

Auto-swipe is something we wanted to release with the first version of Mailbox, but it’s only with recent improvements to our infrastructure that such a smart service has been possible.

This really is something the team has talked about since the beginning. And it’s potentially very powerful — think: Gmail filters re-thought for mobile.

Also, Mailbox and Android is here today. And, perhaps most importantly, Mailbox for Mac is nearly ready for testing. If you’ve ever tried to use the OS X Mail app with Gmail, this will be the best news ever for you. One might call it “a glass of ice water in hell”.

Harry McCracken:

In the end, Gmail ended up running on three hundred old Pentium III computers nobody else at Google wanted. That was sufficient for the limited beta rollout the company planned, which involved giving accounts to a thousand outsiders, allowing them to invite a couple of friends apiece, and growing slowly from there.

As much as I rag on email, it’s hard to imagine a world without Gmail. Actually, it’s terrifying. We’d still be using email, but it would probably look like this.

Sarah Green, looking into “the daily routines of geniuses” from the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry. One finding:

A clear dividing line between important work and busywork. Before there was email, there were letters. It amazed (and humbled) me to see the amount of time each person allocated simply to answering letters. Many would divide the day into real work (such as composing or painting in the morning) and busywork (answering letters in the afternoon). Others would turn to the busywork when the real work wasn’t going well. But if the amount of correspondence was similar to today’s, these historical geniuses did have one advantage: the post would arrive at regular intervals, not constantly as email does.

It would be great to go back to such a world, where interruptions arrived but once a day. But I do wonder if there’s a way to simulate that through scheduling and discipline…

I love everything about this post.

Charles Cooper and Seth Rosenblatt:

Microsoft went through a blogger’s private Hotmail account in order to trace the identity of a source who allegedly leaked trade secrets.

Technically legal or not, this is absolutely insane. And awkward — here’s the copy from Microsoft’s "Scroogled" Gmail campaign:

Outlook.com is different—we don’t go through your email to sell ads.

Nope, we just go through it to get information we need to use in lawsuits. You literally cannot make this up.

And if users needed even more reasons to ditch Hotmail today — beyond the fact that it’s 2014 — Google has a nearly opposite announcement today:

Starting today, Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email. Gmail has supported HTTPS since the day it launched, and in 2010 we made HTTPS the default. Today’s change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers—no matter if you’re using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.

In addition, every single email message you send or receive—100 percent of them—is encrypted while moving internally. This ensures that your messages are safe not only when they move between you and Gmail’s servers, but also as they move between Google’s data centers—something we made a top priority after last summer’s revelations.

Where’s Mark Penn when you need him?

Alex Wilhelm:

Yet a startup called Rebump has found a way to make email even worse. How is that possible, you ask.? Well, Rebump is a service that automatically re-pings people — via email, of course — that haven’t answered your original message. It will keep doing so until you get a response.

Note that this implies that your initial email was both worth reading, and worth replying to. In reality most email fails both tests. So, Rebump is essentially a brilliantly passive aggressive way to force people into responding to you, or the flood of notes will not fucking stop.

Finally, someone has created my worst nightmare in startup form.

Yes, Another Email Rant

I bitch about email. A lot. Very loudly. And very publicly. As a result, I get a lot of people who reach out 1 with some tips on how they best contain the beast. 2

One of the tips that seems to come up most often is managing it as you go, on your mobile device. I of course already do this with Mailbox, but that’s really more about triage and less about taking care of business in real time. What these people usually mean is actually responding to emails as they come in, rather than organizing them to respond to later.

Admittedly, I’m awful at this. But that’s sort of by design.

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