Email is still a primary form of communication. For the most part people will send an email or text message to someone before the pick up the phone and actually make a phone call; which is kind of funny to have a phone to send a text message. But even still, email is still a primary form of communication, especially in companies and corporations.
What’s interesting to me though is that while email is a primary form of communication, instant messaging has also established itself as a standard in sending quick messages. It’s very curious that you have something like email which is typically used for something more formal and then you have instant messengers which their main purpose is to send just a quick question. It’s almost like if you’re sending an email to say thanks; sending an email to say thanks is perceived as overkill and a waste. But if you receive an email and are able to respond with Instant Messenger to say thanks; it seems appropriate.
I’m just very surprised that the standard email clients and instant messengers have not married up better…
Microsoft Outlook is the only application that I know of that has truly married email with Instant Messenger. Believe it or not I think that Microsoft has done a very good job of mixing email and instant messenger communications in Microsoft Outlook. No other application has the integration of online status with the formality of using email.
It’s been many years that instant messengers have been available. The problem with Instant Messenger’s is the various different protocols. You have services like MSN, Yahoo, Google, ICQ and AIM… All the services, and they use all different protocols. The problem is that it’s not so easy to simply send a text message to Instant Messenger what all these services you different protocols; they can speak to each other.
Outside of the company or corporation, it seems like you have the ability to have an email client that would integrate all those protocols and give you a status of the contact that sent you the email. Logic would say that as long as you have an account with the service there using, you should be able to send them an instant message. For instance, if a person send you an email, from their Gmail account, but your receiving the email on your Hotmail account; there should be some sort of logic that allows you to connect to their Gmail account, using your Gmail account to communicate with them.
By this time, I would have expected that all email clients have this ability, but the fact is they don’t. Microsoft Outlook is the only email application that I know of, on a company basis, that provides this kind of service. And it’s actually very fluid…
Now, there is an application called eM Client that achieves instant messaging and contact status in the email client. It’s about as close as you’re going to get to how Microsoft Outlook integrates contact status as well as managing emails. Over the years eM Client has been progressively getting better.
eM Client achieves its instant messaging abilities from jabber. This also allows them to use the jabber protocol to interface to services like Google and Facebook with basically no effort. Other services like MSN and Yahoo are not available through the jabber protocol, but there are ways around it. The problem is in eM Client it’s just not that easy to do yet.
But finally, after a long wait, Mozilla Thunderbird is moving in the direction of having that type of functionality. Mozilla Thunderbird just added a whole new ability to instant message contacts, and then another add-on was added to Thunderbird for a whole new set of instant message protocols. The ability is not integrated well into the application, but it is there; including Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, it looks as though Mozilla Thunderbird just isn’t as popular as it used to be. It’s still a very well established free email client and has a very loyal following, but Mozilla Thunderbird according to the Mozilla foundation, has been placed on the back burner.
Going forward, having integration between email and instant messengers is going be one of those features I’m going to be looking for. Sometimes you need to send email for formality, but for other times a quick instant message will work just as good; and having application that can do both of those is going to be an absolute bonus, not just in the work environment.
Larry Henry Jr.
…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12