Gabor Cselle - The Future of Email


Published on

Email clients haven't moved forward since the mid-1990s. Most applications have added superficial features, but the basics remained unchanged: Folders, lists of disconnected emails sorted by arrival time. Clients have no sense of priority, urgency, workflows, or connectedness. Their search features are simple and are sometimes painfully slow. Users today are bombarded with email and find popular email clients hard to use and inefficient.

How did we get here? How do we get out of it? This talk will show new ideas of improving the email experience for overloaded users. Gabor will also talk about commercial opportunities in this field, illustrated with his own experience in Silicon Valley at his previous startup, Xobni, the maker of a popular Outlook-based application.

These are the slides from Gabor Cselle's presentation at CSIRO / Macquarie University on Oct 15, 2008. Thanks to Andrew Lampert for organizing the talk!

Published in: Technology
1 Comment
No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • How many here are students? How many here are researchers? How many use, as their main email client, Outlook / Gmail / Thunderbird / Lotus Notes / Zimbra / mutt or pine?
  • Gabor Cselle - The Future of Email

    1. The Future of Email Gabor Cselle October 15, 2008 CSIRO / Macquarie
    2. Background on Gabor <ul><li>MSCS, ETH Zurich on “Organizing Email” </li></ul><ul><li>Software Engineer at Google </li></ul><ul><li>VP Engineering at Xobni </li></ul><ul><li>Just started a new email company </li></ul>
    3. Xobni <ul><li>Plugin for Microsoft Outlook </li></ul><ul><li>“ Find that email you’re looking for” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fast search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People profiles </li></ul></ul>
    5. Email volumes are rising … Billions of non-spam messages sent per day “ In 2008, average business user sent or received 156 messages / day.” Source: Radicati Group [1]
    6. Emails Clients haven’t Changed
    7. The 400M Pound Gorilla
    8. Users are Drowning in Email <ul><li>Email overload is now considered a much bigger workplace problem than traditional email spam . - Wall Street Journal </li></ul><ul><li>The burden of managing all that e-mail has prompted a backlash. One extreme reaction is &quot; e-mail bankruptcy ,&quot; where users throw up their hands and erase their entire inboxes. - National Public Radio </li></ul>
    10. Whose Problems? <ul><li>I want to improve email for users who are: </li></ul><ul><li>LAZY </li></ul>
    11. Whose Problems? <ul><li>I want to improve email for users who are: </li></ul><ul><li>LAZY </li></ul><ul><li>UNDISCIPLINED </li></ul>
    12. Whose Problems? <ul><li>I want to improve email for users who are: </li></ul><ul><li>LAZY </li></ul><ul><li>UNDISCIPLINED </li></ul><ul><li>AVERAGE </li></ul>
    13. Three Big Problems in Email Prioritize Organize and Search Multiplex Emails have different levels of importance, urgency. But email clients treat every email the same. Folders are not a natural way to organize emails. In today’s implementations, search is badly done. Pull in and synthesize information from various sources other than email. Make email universally accessible.
    14. PRIORITY
    15. My Inbox …
    16. … Actually Important
    17. Important vs. Urgent “ Your Amazon order has shipped” “ Please review the board slides this week” Not Urgent “ Guys, there’s cake at my desk” “ The servers are down” Urgent Not Important Important
    18. How do you classify it? <ul><li>How do we find out what emails are important? </li></ul><ul><li>Some ideas: </li></ul><ul><li>Machine learning [2] </li></ul><ul><li>Heuristics [3] </li></ul><ul><li>Reply prediction [4] </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>BiFrost, [3]
    19. “You’ve Got Mail”: Alerting <ul><li>No more “toast” for unimportant messages </li></ul><ul><li>Notify only on super important messages? </li></ul><ul><li>When should we interrupt the user ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Between task switches [5] </li></ul></ul>
    21. Coping with Folders Source: [6] Cheap but messy Search only No effort to delete or file email No filers Takes some effort, temporary mess Intermittent clean-ups Spring Cleaners High mental burden, stress Daily passes to file or delete email Frequent filers
    22. New Approaches <ul><li>Based on structure of data: </li></ul>Tasks Attachments Emails People Actions Conversations
    23. New Approaches <ul><li>Based on structure of data: </li></ul>Xobni Gmail Outlook TaskMaster GTD Tasks Attachments Emails People Actions Conversations Outlook
    24. Organize by People <ul><li>Xobni: </li></ul><ul><li>(and others, e.g. [7]) </li></ul>People Connected to Adam Conversations with Adam Files Exchanged with Adam
    25. Organize by Task <ul><li>TaskMaster [8] </li></ul>
    26. Organize by Next Action <ul><li>Getting things done (“GTD”) </li></ul>
    27. This Reminds me of …
    28. Improving Search <ul><li>Relevance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Best results on top </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand user intent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Andrew inbox” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Better UI </li></ul>
    30. Many Sources of Data EMail SMS Blogs Twitter Facebook Unified communications
    31. A Multiplexed Feed Twitter Email Blog entry
    33. Conclusions <ul><li>Email will stop being a simple transport channel, but will add filters to show you what’s important </li></ul><ul><li>Email will stop being a file system but will be organized and displayed in new ways . Search needs to improve dramatically . </li></ul><ul><li>Email will stop being an island . We’ll bring in content from social networks, blogs, etc. </li></ul>
    35. References <ul><li>Radicati Group, </li></ul><ul><li>Horvitz et al: Attention-Sensitive Alerting, UAI 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>Baelter and Sidner: BiFrost Inbox Organizer, NordiCHI 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Dre dze et al: Intelligent Email: Reply and Attachment Prediction, IUI 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Smailagic et al: Task Interruptability Analysis, Technical Report, CMU, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Whittaker, Sidner: Email overload, CHI 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Turski et al: Inner Circle, CHI 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Belotti et al: Taking email to task (TaskMaster), CHI 2003 </li></ul>
    36. QUESTIONS? [email_address]