Boomerang launches work-focused AI assistant for email

Can an AI assistant analyze your day and make it easier?

Video: Gmail: Make the most of it with these secret tricks

After over 20 years in the office its obvious that email will never die, and tasks and notification popups have made the issue worse for office workers.

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To try and address this issue, Mountain View CA-based productivity software company Boomerang has launched its email app.

Coupled with a work-focused AI assistant the app has been designed to regain lost hours, simplify tasks, and improve productivity.

The assistant is launching as an app, initially on iOS, with desktop, and Amazon Alexa integrations being developed for 2018.

The app triages your emails for you. For instance, you could say "Hey Boomerang, Brief Me" on your train ride to work in the morning to get through your emails.

Then, you are ready for your day as soon as you get to your desk. Say "Hey Boomerang, Brief Me" after a long meeting so you don't have to dig through your inbox to know what to prioritize. Use Brief Me to catch up on your messages.

The technology works by applying a natural language processing engine to analyze message text and other email metadata. This finds important and relevant messages that need your attention.

Machine learning algorithms which have been trained by millions of messages evaluate factors such as email length, complexity, and how many queries have been embedded in the message. This helps the algorithm understand how long it takes to respond to a given message.

It then highlights the relevant portions of each email, tells you how long it will take to respond to, and finds open time for you to deal with the emails; "You have 17 emails that are important and need a response which should take about 45 minutes."

It will also retrieve files and facts lost in your inbox. Say "Find Sarah's phone number" or "Find the PDF that Steve sent" to retrieve the information.

The assistant is built for work, so just tell it what you want such as "Delete all the marketing email I received yesterday," "Show me emails I need to reply to," or "Summarize this conversation for me."

"Smart assistants to date have been generalists, usually best at simple things like playing a song or setting a timer," said Alex Moore, CEO and co-founder of Boomerang.

"By focusing exclusively on improving workday efficiency, we've created a feature set that goes beyond this catch-all approach and hopefully helps people leave work at work."

Just like Microsoft Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging and Outlook Voice Access, you can manage your calendar. Say "Reschedule my meeting with Jamie" and the app will move, create, and cancel meetings; it can let people know you are running late; and even clear your schedule for the day.

Planning your day so you can avoid falling into unproductive time-sucks is a great idea. Just make sure you do not open any of your social accounts until your work triage has been done.

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