Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Messaging News

I noticed several news item today in the area of post-email messaging. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I’m interested in applications that converge e-mail messages, instant messages, and other kinds of messaging, such as VOIP or messages in social networks. One was on Microsoft’s Office Communicator, which was less interesting but is adding VOIP of some sort to its integration with Office, Sharepoint, and Groove.

The main article was one from Venture Beat, “Four Startups Ready to Change the Face of Email”. Two of these startups, Fuser and Orgoo, focus on a convergence of e-mail and instant messaging. The article states:

Fuser pulls together its user’s communications, both from all of their email accounts as well as the social networks Facebook and MySpace. It then places the message-centers of each service in a single web based interface, providing a central place to catch up on what’s been happening everywhere. According to the company’s president, Jeff Herman, “The problem is that most people today have multiple email, social networking accounts and so forth. You have to log in to five or six places to find out what’s going on. What we’re really going for is a virtual command center to pull together everything a person has.

Fuser is available, theoretically, though the site only threw up errors during account creation. I wanted to see how well they converged Facebook and normal mail.

Orgoo does much the same. The article states that it “aggregates communication, but with an interface that more closely resembles traditional email.”

I found this quote from “Rad” at Orgoo pretty similar to my earlier thinking on bringing communication together:

“As things stand, you have different accounts on all these services. If I email you, we continue our conversation by IM or phone. But I don’t have one single view of that conversation. We’ve taken the first step of integrating and allowing you to organize in one central location.”

The article also mentions that Fuser is adding IM support and Orgoo is adding social networking.

Orgoo mentions some of the details of what they are doing when you sign up for more information. They state that Orgoo allows you to:

  • See if an email sender is online and reply to their email with IM, video, or SMS (your reply is then embedded/stored in the original email).
  • Organize and store your email, IM, chat, and SMS conversations together in folders.
  • Instantly share your saved IM, chat and SMS conversations with anyone.
  • With one click, send chat room invitations to your buddies on any IM network, mobile device, or email.
  • Search through all your email, IM, and chat conversations. Access your data from anywhere.

Orgoo is currently in one of those pre-beta stages where you can leave information and they promise to get back to you about a beta account at some point. As I said before, Fuser lets you make an account, theoretically, but the process died in the middle every time for me.

This is a space that I’d like to see Mozilla getting involved with in some way. Some of this should be through the new MailCo but I also think that some integration with IM and messaging should be available in some manner within Firefox or Thunderbird. This is not necessarily adding chat to either but I think there is probably a space to be made for online presence and awareness. I would think that there is probably the potential for some useful extensions, if nothing else, in this space. I’d like to see a convergence of online identity and messaging into a useful interface that is available to me when I’m online.

Update: So Emily from Fuser was kind enough to respond here and in e-mail. After some investigation, I’ve made an account. It turns out that Fuser works fine with Firefox 2.0.0.7 but it is barfing on Firefox 3.0 nightly builds for some reason. At this point, I’m willing to blame the build or interaction with it. I appreciate the responsiveness though!