These thoughts are triggered by the hey release, but they are otherwise unrelated.
Every now and then, an application comes along, grabs substantial userbase and claims to have solved the “issue” with email, texting and whatever memorabilia you want to share with your friends. Provided you’re part of their locked garden. Various pricing models are applied here. Math your heart out.
However, here is the thing: each one of them, requires your lock-in to that application. That’s how I ended up with 16 texting (or similar) applications on my phone. Because my contacts, personal and customers demand their favorite platform for my attention.
And that is why email will never die. It works most of the time and it does not matter who your provider is: Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Protonmail, Fastmail, a local Exchange server, some postfix running on an RPi. It does not matter. Granted, when your message does not go through, there may be insurmountable hoops to jump, but in the end, email is still the ubiquitous text application that works for everyone, everywhere between big walled gardens and even your own backyard if you care to run it on your own. And that is why, even though email is not instant messaging, people (OK not my kids) still treat it like it being such.
I am still undecided whether to invest in Hey. The application looks good, the web client also, but the cost of switching from my current walled garden (that also offers some identity services) is big.
6 thoughts on “email will never die”
Unfortunately, so many “texting” app users, are completely useless with their email.
Apart from the external lock in (not allowing you to interact with other walled gardens) proprietary email alternatives also lock your data. It’s typically difficult to process messages and contacts on your own. These become locked in as well. Contrast this with email where my archived messages have over time moved from a VAX, to a Gould, to a Sun workstations, to PC desktops, to Linux, to laptops, to cellphones, all running various versions of Unix, Windows, Android, and macOS.
While not a total remedy, if the walled garden offers POP3/IMAP it may be possible to get a local copy.
I think Mr. Spinellis was referring to email alternatives like Slack etc. Would be a very welcome feature though if you could access your slack message history via IMAP :-)
IMAP is so hard and complicated, that the mailing lists have very low to no traffic after Mark Crispin’s death. So I do not think this is a possibility.
I actually think that the lack of IMAP is HEY’s best feature :-) https://blog.vrypan.net/2020/07/01/hey-does-not-support-imap-and-thats-its-most-important-feature/