Alumni of both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and cloud-storage company Dropbox have pooled their talents to launch a new web service called Inbox. It’s goal? To be the new force in email, and buck the ancient trends of email services gone-by.
But to take on the future of email is to take on Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, not to mention regional cable/Internet providers like Comcast. The team at Inbox boasts “the first step toward a new email platform,” one built on “a clean slate with modern APIs.”
Inbox can link to your Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Exchange account, and others, the company claims. But it’s support of other companies doesn’t mean the relationship is entirely friendly. As per a quote on the company’s official website:
“Inbox is an email company. Google is an advertising company. This product is our focus, and will not be ‘discontinued’ unexpectedly.”
Relatedly, Google announced its new “Gmail API” at this month’s Google I/O developer conference, offering developers (finally) access to tools like threads and labels within Gmail without needing access to an entire user’s inbox. The goal of this API is not just to make developer’s lives easier, but to decrease overall reliance on old email standards.
Inbox wants a very similar future. It proposes a product free of the “archaic protocols and formats” of email days of old, and one that can easily be updated with new features that are difficult to add to current clients and services.
As mentioned, the company is comprised of alums from MIT, Dropbox, and Nest, and even some from smaller companies acquired by giants like Cisco and Oracle.
“I actually wrote my thesis at MIT on email tools, and discovered how difficult it was to add features to email apps,” explains Inbox co-founder Michael Grinich regarding how Inbox came to be.
“One big issue was the underlying plumbing – IMAP, MIME, character encodings, etc. – which is what Inbox fixes for developers.”
To learn more about Inbox and register for access and updates, visit the official site.