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July 08, 2014

Inbox: The Future of Email


Today marks the launch of Inbox, a new email solution that will revolutionize how users interact with their accounts.

A joint venture between alumni of Dropbox (the popular cloud storage service) and MIT, Inbox presents a comprehensive new API that does away with problems arisen from antiquated technologies like Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME).

Inbox works with existing email servers such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail, so there is no need for a new account, and presents a new interface that is attractive, efficient and completely open source. Old technology prevented the opportunity for much app development, but the new system allows for virtually unlimited expansion. Additionally, apps can be made that only deal with certain bits of information from the server instead of with an all-or-none system like IMAP was, which improves software efficiency just as much as security and flexibility.

The new API is not only more flexible and useful, but much easier to use. Much of the old standard uses language and processes that are foreign in today’s climate, much less useful than more modern forms. Aligning with current practices will make development much more accessible and worthwhile.

This release is in the wake of a similar one by Google in the end of June, when it was announced that Gmail itself would be shifting to a new API with similar development opportunities. The Gmail API is still in beta but apps are already well underway.

Inbox was released quietly, but is available immediately for developers to begin work. There are already several completed projects on GitHub.

A transition like this will surely create a new standard for how email is supposed to work, perhaps their first major change in decades. With these advancements it is exciting to see what the developer community does with the new tools at their disposal, and what that will mean for consumers.




Edited by Adam Brandt


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