With recent releases of Twitter in Microsoft Outlook, Facebook e-mail, Google Buzz in Gmail, plus the existing Lotus Notes sidebar, Zimbra Desktop, and what Mozilla is doing with Raindrop it seems that the new killer app is…the inbox. For years we have heard the term killer app and have installed new applications or bookmarked new aggregates to get all of our information in one place. But, no matter what we did, we always ended up back in our inbox…cc’ing everyone in our address book. Why? A few reasons:
E-mail is easy
The learning curve is so easy, that people are hooked instantly. And it is easier to start building onto an existing platform that people like and use instead of a new experience or application.
No specific company own’s e-mail
As mentioned above, any company can create their own e-mail client…but it still does the same function as all the others. Thus, no matter which country you live in, language you speak, or religious beliefs (kidding), there is an e-mail client for you.
E-mail has a bigger market share than Twitter, Facebook, YouTube put together.
Maybe they weren’t first to market for connecting people (the telephone beat them to the punch) but it has grown so popular that if you think about it, when was the last time you met someone who did not have an e-mail address? For goodness sakes, I have three of my own. Robert Scoble has one. Don’t you?
People will let you tweak it
Sure, go ahead and add Twitter or Google Buzz to my in-box. It doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to use it. But, that is the beauty of it. It is just there, waiting for you. And if you get curious, or your friends/family/work starts to use it, well, you can take a peak because you already have your e-mail open. And if you can’t figure out how to DM your mother…well, you can send her an e-mail. But the power here is you are not forcing people to start communicating in a totally different way or application…you are letting them gradually start to use these tools.
In an e-mail, you can be formal/informal, long/short, add images/video, put links, add emoticons, write a novel, sell products, and be private/public, communicate with one/thousands of people all in one application. No other tool can do it all. Sure, Twitter you can reach a million people with one Tweet…but you can’t add a video, an emoticon, picture of the vacation and a excel spreadsheet. But Twitter has it’s use…that is why it is a good ‘add-on’ to e-mail.
So the killer app is out there…and everyone is using it…so tell me again why we want everyone to abandon it? That is why I believe that you will see more and more integration of other tools into the in-box. Or whatever else it will be called in the future.