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Tripit Ajaxworld V5

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  • 1. Building Email Apps AJAXWorld October 20, 2008 San Jose, CA Andy Denmark TripIt, Co-Founder and VP Engineering
  • 2. Email Bankruptcy “(He) just declared email bankruptcy. I've read those declarations enough to know it means our email tools aren't usable.” - garrickvanburen on Twitter “I routinely declare email bankruptcy and simply delete my entire inbox.” “Wondering if I can get a Bear - Michael Arrington, TechCrunch Sterns bailout for my email bankruptcy.” - willpate on Twitter So, why is email still around despite all the challenges and criticism… ?
  • 3. Email Is Still The “Killer App”  Email is a natural extension of a metaphor for communication that humans have used forever  Everyone has email and is the overwhelming majority of person-to-person online communication  No matter what else people use to communicate, they use email too  Email contains an amazing amount of context and data about our lives  Our relationships  Our purchases  Our thoughts and the thoughts of people we know
  • 4. What More Can We Do With Email?  Spam and mass email marketing may be contributing to the problems outlined earlier  But think of all the things we can do to make our applications better by making better use of email:  Broadcasting data  Query interfaces  Data transfer  Intelligent parsing of data  Mining of social connections (“Inbox 2.0”)  Email as an application platform
  • 5. Does An Email App Make Sense? PROS CONS  Ubiquity – everyone has  May just not fit your service email  May be too complex for your  Exposure – email is on all day users to understand and captures a lot of  It’s challenging to properly attention support all email clients,  Simplicity – easy to send versions and formats email, everyone knows how  Building and supporting a to do it system that sends, receives,  Embedded identity and reads email is a pain
  • 6. Prehistoric Email Apps
  • 7. Domain Registration Email Sign-Up  Email to: hostmaster@internic.net  From address authentication for new sign-ups  Choose to receive your bill via email or USPS  Authentication schemes for modify/delete were CRYPT-PW and PGP
  • 8. Archie File Query Email Interface Available Interfaces  Text-based client  Graphical client  Telnet client  Email
  • 9. Browsing The Web Via Email “For personal reasons, I do not browse the web from my computer. (I also have no net connection much of the time.) To look at page I send mail to a demon which runs wget and mails the page back to me. It is very efficient use of my time, but it is slow in real time.” -- Richard Stallman (2007-12-15)
  • 10. About TripIt ?
  • 11. ***CONFIDENTIAL*** 13
  • 12. Add Meetings, Activities, Forward Any Restaurants, etc. Confirmation Email Trip Sharing & Social Alerts Automated Online Master Itinerary iCal & Atom Support Automated Weather, Maps, Guides… Email & Mobile Access
  • 13. Why Email Made Sense For TripIt  The native format of travel data is varied and unfriendly  The travel industry isn’t moving to expose that data  Partnering with big travel companies and building APIs would take too long  Users already have all their travel data in email, but that data is “dead”  Auto-account creation using the embedded identity of an email message  It has become an “instant delight” factor for users
  • 14. Types Of Email App Services Command Line Data Semantic Broadcast Interface Transfer Parsing ?
  • 15. Types Of Email App Services Command Line Data Semantic Broadcast Interface Transfer Parsing One Way • User requests email information to be sent to them • Typically triggered by an action or an alert Examples • Mailing Lists • Google Alerts
  • 16. Example: Mailing Lists Searchable knowledge base built as a by- product of natural human communication
  • 17. Example: Google Alerts  “Real time” alerts delivered right to my desktop  Useful way to asynchronously broadcast data I’ve requested as it’s available  With linkage to the web, alerts are actionable and controllable
  • 18. Types Of Email App Services Command Line Data Semantic Broadcast Interface Transfer Parsing CLI • Users emails a command and Email App replies with a response • Typically a standard list of commands and responses Examples • I Want Sandy • TripIt
  • 19. Example: I Want Sandy http://iwantsandy.com/
  • 20. Example: TripIt
  • 21. Types Of Email App Services Command Line Data Semantic Broadcast Interface Transfer Parsing Email Forwarding • Users forward emails and Email App recognizes and parses them • Typically converts “unstructured” data into “structured” data making it more usable to the app and user Examples • Flickr • Blogger
  • 22. Example: Flickr
  • 23. Example: Blogger
  • 24. Types Of Email App Services Command Line Data Semantic Broadcast Interface Transfer Parsing Intelligent Agent • Structured data from email is enriched by the Email App by retrieving related information from other sites • Typically leverages “keys” such as geo- coding to capture relevant data Examples • TrackMyShipments • TripIt
  • 25. Example: TrackMyShipments
  • 26. Example: TripIt Timezone Weather Flight Details Online Checkin Flight Status Seat Advice
  • 27. Types Of Email App Services Command Line Data Semantic Broadcast Interface Transfer Parsing One Way CLI Email Forwarding Intelligent Agent • User requests email • Users emails a • Users forward emails • Structured data from information to be sent command and Email and Email App email is enriched by to them App replies with a recognizes and parses the Email App by response them retrieving related • Typically triggered by information from other an action or an alert • Typically a standard • Typically converts sites list of commands and “unstructured” data into responses “structured” data • Typically leverages making it more usable “keys” such as geo- to the app and user coding to capture relevant data Examples Examples Examples Examples Listserv I Want Sandy Flickr TrackMyShipments Google Alerts TripIt Blogger TripIt
  • 28. Email Systems as Platforms  Why turn an email system into a platform for running applications?  Natural personal productivity integration point with other tools such as calendar, contact list, etc…  All the data is already there  Done right, the UI is a natural extension of what hundreds of millions of people use everyday, small learning curve  Examples  Outlook/Xobni  GMail w/ GreaseMonkey  GMail Labs  Yahoo! Open Mail
  • 29. Outlook/Xobni  Search your Inbox  People-focused analytics and semantic analysis (e.g., phone numbers)  Implicit social graph discovery (i.e., who talks to whom?)  Related conversations  http://www.xobni.com/
  • 30. TripIt for GMail Drives the UI to “forward” the email No access to the data in the message (e.g. headers, attachments, etc…) “Brittle” solution that relies on a UI that doesn’t change No feedback loop or error handling with TripIt’s backend http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/25778
  • 31. GMail Labs  Features on top of GMail, no mashups yet  Not available to non- Googlers  Huge un-fufilled potential
  • 32. Yahoo! Mail Video: Yahoo! OpenMail/TripIt Integration
  • 33. Key Takeaways  Email is not dead!  Treasure-trove of data waiting to be mined  At least four different types of apps  Broadcast, CLI, Data transfer, Semantic parsing  Emerging email platforms  New ways of delivering your applications via mail platforms are coming  If you get it right, huge payoff for you and your users
  • 34. Questions Andy Denmark TripIt, Co-Founder and VP Engineering