Meet Mozilla's Raindrop: Like Google Wave, but different enough to co-exist

When it comes to new ways to communicate online, Google's Wave might be too much for some - after all, it's definitely complex and, yeah, it can be somewhat intimidating, too.Now, along comes Mozilla with a new venture in what I'll call extended communications - that is, tapping into all of the various platforms beyond e-mail that people use to communicate.

When it comes to new ways to communicate online, Google's Wave might be too much for some - after all, it's definitely complex and, yeah, it can be somewhat intimidating, too.

Now, along comes Mozilla with a new venture in what I'll call extended communications - that is, tapping into all of the various platforms beyond e-mail that people use to communicate. They're calling it Raindrop and it's so new that it's still being referred to as "an exploration in messaging innovation." Here's how the team explains its foundation in a blog post that introduced Raindrop:

A central principle behind Raindrop is that messaging should be personal — we want Raindrop to be people-centric both in how we process messages, and in how we can help give people control over their personal data and experiences. When a friend’s link from YouTube or flickr arrives, your messaging client should be able to show the video or photos near or as part of the message, rather than rudely kicking you over to a separate browser tab. Notifications from computers and mailing lists should be organized for you, not clutter your Inbox or require tedious manual filter setup. It should be easy to smoothly integrate new web services into your conversation viewer entirely using open web technologies.

I have been using Wave on and off for a while now and, as a collaboration tool, I think it could revolutionize how teams interact and communicate with each other. But, increasingly, it feels like a work tool, not a personal one. The details on Raindrop are extremely limited - but already, it sounds like a forum that could take a heavy load off of my e-mail inbox.

In a recent post about Wave, I chimed in on how inefficient e-mail has become for collaboration. I think the same goes for sharing. E-mail is probably the most unruly element of my life. Try as I may to keep it clean and organized, I wake up every morning to a nightmare of an inbox and find myself regularly trying to sift through messages and prioritize which of them need a response, which ones need to be read and tossed and which ones aren't even worth opening.

If I miss one morning of that routine, it's that much harder to catch up. And yes, I have missed important messages just because they get buried in a mountain of garbage. That's not efficient at all.

So, here's hoping that Wave and Raindrop can come in and develop some real innovation to revolutionize e-mail, a critical communications tool that's in desperate need of an overhaul.

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