Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Good rant from Ray Ozzie on the death of email.

Ray Ozzie
As time goes on, though, you'll only visit eMail as a low-priority background task, much as you do when sorting through your physical mail at home. You'd never do important work through your home mailbox, would you?

Email is breaking, breaking, broken. Adriaan has a neat graph.

Ray links to Clay and Ross who link to Gelernter and Hornik on the issue.


An even better question is how do you fix email?

Filters? DRM? New formats?

I think we've all been trying to fix it with filters and countless other workarounds for years now and nothing seems to work for any period of time. Every day that goes on I look forward to checking my mail less and less. People who used to be able to reach me all the time because I'd be checking e-mail on my phone are out of luck because I rarely check it that way due to the spam. It's a nightmare. I'm definitely in the crowd of people looking for some other soultion, something that works.

It is the second time that I see a post from Ray Ozzie where, in my view, he is showing his complete misunderstanding of why the Internet became what it is now.

In the previous blog (about the Eolas patent), Ray wonders why people where so excited about HTTP/HTML although Lotus Notes could do better and years earlier.

In this one, Ray says that Groove (which is a fine product btw) and Sharepoint are the email-killers, simply because you are more productive in them.

But, as Lotus Notes, Groove will never become like email. We use email from mobile phones, from PCs, TVs, fridges, etc. seamlessly and it became so natural that we are not even conscious anymore of the most important thing about email just as we are not even conscious of the air we breath.

Email is here, and here to stay, because it is open.

Because no company can hijack it and ask usage fee for it, no company has an exclusive right to decide what features will go in.

Just like email made Lotus Notes irrelevant, I guess that some kind of ueber-email will make Groove irrelevant, unless Ray wakes up, opens the protocols for everybody to play, and make ports of Groove on all major platforms (unix/linux/macos x being the first!), and last but not least, offer a limited version of groove in an open-source/freeware format.

Ray may has the future of the Internet in his hands... He is just not visionary enough.

I must be ahead of the curve, I check my email twice, maybe three times a day. I certainly don't have it ping my inbox every five minutes and interrupt me if there's something. And I don't get a lot of interesting stuff in my email box.

Instant messaging has already replaced email for the best way to get a hold of me. And its not because its Open, its just because its pervasive and accessible. (However I do expect it to transition to open one of these days just like email did.)

But maybe even IM by itself is not the end-all-be-all. There's skype which is a pretty good net-telephone prototype; and IM could use a bunch of helpful bots to do RSS feeds, look things up for me, etc.

Maybe the future of human interaction is part blog/wiki/webnews, part real time communication, and part email (where each part is used appropriately). I expect it will be exciting no matter what form it ends up taking.


Announcing email's death is slightly premature and sounds quiet self-serving considering who those self-appointed prophets are...

In any case, what's broken again?

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Joi just linked to Ray Ozzie's rant about email, and it's obvious terminal condition. Is it dead as so many... Read More

It suddenly seems fashionable to predict the death of email. Ray Ozzie thinks that it's about to be replaced by workspaces for important tasks. Joi thinks it's broken. Hornik believes that it's the end of the web as he knows Read More