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Google’s plan to fix email

CITEworld

We hold the truth that email sucks to be self-evident, but there’s no agreement on how to fix it.

But at this week’s Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Google announced that it’s taking a novel approach to improving email: Opening its immensely popular Gmail up to developers by way of a new, proprietary API in beta. It seems to hope this API will eventually replace the current IMAP e-mail standard and turn the email service into a platform.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), invented in 1986, has become far more popular in recent years as an alternative to POP — the POP standard doesn’t support flagging emails as read or unread across devices, which is pretty important now that you can check your email from your refrigerator just as easily as you can from your computer.

Just about every mail client ever invented, including Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird, supports IMAP as the accepted standard for reading and receiving emails. Gmail has supported IMAP basically for the duration of its existence, meaning that any of those mail clients could act as an interface for Gmail.

Even so, that wouldn’t necessarily be all bad. Google is touting this step as a way to make Gmail a new platform for developers, opening the door to all kinds of handy-dandy new tools that take advantage of the ability to access email from within other, more specailized apps.

“While IMAP is great at what it was designed for (connecting email clients to email servers in a standard way), it wasn’t really designed to do all of the cool things that you have been working on,” writes Google’s Eric DeFriez in a blog entry.

DeFriez goes on to write that Google’s developers get Android-esque app-level permissions when accessing Gmail through the new API: If you only need your app to send e-mail and not read it, you can limit permission requests. He also says that it’s much faster than current mail access protocols.

So yes, email has problems, and fixing them with current mail access protocols that date back to the eighties often seems like trying to ice-skate uphill. And Gmail is a robust, incredibly popular platform that offers a lot of leverage for trying to fix things. But giving Google even more control over tools and technologies that we use every day seems like it may be a hard sell.

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Google has 5 of the 6 most popular apps in America (and more crazy data from ComScore)

VentureBeat

ComScore’s Digital Future report for 2013 just came out, and the analytics company has a lot to say about what happened in 2012 … and what might be coming up in 2013.

Online advertising, for one thing, was way up, with almost six trillion display ads published in 2012. That’s up 500 billion from 2011. Shockingly, AT&T accounted for a massive 1.04 billion of them, more than double the next largest online advertiser, Microsoft, which bought almost 50 billion impressions.

ComScore’s massive report also includes data on the top web properties, the battle for search dominance between Google and Bing, and smartphone market share, among other things.

Facebook, for instance, is the most popular app on phones in America, according to ComScore, showing up on 76 percent of phones. That’s impressive, but not as impressive as Google’s utter domination of the mobile charts. The search engine/social network/advertising giant has no less than five of the top six mobile apps in the U.S. Google’s apps such as Maps, Google Play, Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube take positions two through six.

View the report’s findings… 

There’s No Avoiding Google+

Wall Street Journal

Google Inc. GOOG +0.73% is challenging Facebook Inc. FB +1.35% by using a controversial tactic: requiring people to use the Google+ social network.

The result is that people who create an account to use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services—including the Zagat restaurant-review website—are also being set up with public Google+ pages that can be viewed by anyone online. Google+ is a Facebook rival and one of the company’s most important recent initiatives as it tries to snag more online advertising dollars.

The impetus comes from the top. Google Chief Executive Larry Page has sought more aggressive measures to get people to use Google+, two people familiar with the matter say. Google created Google+ in large part to prevent Facebook from dominating the social-networking business.

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Mobile To Become Top Email Platform

MediaPost 

Return Path projects that mobile will overtake Webmail and the desktop PC to become the leading platform for e-mail by year’s end. Email readership on mobile devices accounts for 30% of all opens, up from 10% a few years ago, according to a new study by the email certification and reputation monitoring company,

Return Path estimates that proportion will reach about 35% by June, eclipsing Webmail services like Yahoo Mail, Hotmail and Gmail, and roughly equaling email opens on desktop clients like Outlook by mid-year. “What we’ve seen over the past year and a half is that mobile is really eating away at the share of Webmail views,” said Tom Sather, senior director of email research at Return Path. (A Webmail service accessed within a phone’s native email program would be counted as a mobile view in the study.)

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IDG World Tech Update – Week of 4/16/12

IDG News Service

Oracle and Google battle it out in court, Gmail goes down for millions, and Barclays introduces pay by mobile phone in Europe.  For more, here’s Nick Barber of the IDG News Service…

5 Ways Google Earns Money Off You

Smart Money 

The $10.6 billion first quarter revenue Google posted Thursday reflect the value of the data collected from consumers, experts say. “Whatever you post online, expect it to be used by companies to sell advertising,” says Rick Dakin, CEO of IT security business Coalfire. All the tidbits Google gleans from users of YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and other services boost the accuracy of the company’s targeted ads, and therefore, its revenue, says Michael Fertik, CEO and founder ofReputation.com, one of many new services designed to help consumers keep their web use anonymous. Advertising prices for “adword” or sponsored links are determined by an auction with 1 cent as the minimum bid, according to a Google spokesman.

Google stirs up privacy hornet’s nest – With no opt-out option, Google plans to combine users’ data across services

Computerworld

Computerworld – Google has whipped up a privacy brouhaha with a blog post announcing that the company is rewriting its privacy policy, consolidating user information across its services.

What has the blogosphere and some users in an uproar is that Google isn’t offering users an opt-out option. If you don’t want your information fromGmail, YouTube and Google searches combined into one personal data store that can paint a detailed picture of you, the only option is to stop using Google’s services.

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Social Sharing Trends

MediaPost

The social media landscape is fragmented.  People use Facebook to interact with friends and family, Twitter to follow influencers and share opinions, LinkedIn for their professional network, and Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail to communicate directly with contacts, finds a recent study by Janrain,  Combined, these networks boast over 1.5 billion accounts.

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Google Shows Ads With Images in Gmail

NY Times, 1/27/11

Google’s display ads, or ads with images, have been showing up across the Web and even in Times Square. Now they are bound for Gmail.

Google started showing the ads alongside people’s e-mail in-boxes on Jan. 21. The company is still experimenting with them and not every Gmail user will see them, said Rob Shilkin, a Google spokesman.

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