Tag Archives: Email

Retailers Fight Exile From Gmail In-Boxes

Reporting for the New York Times Claire Miller and Stephanie Clifford address Gmail’s new inbox interface and its effect on retailers.

For Google, it’s another moneymaking avenue (note the ads that look like e-mails that now appear at the top of the promotions folder). Also, the company says it wants to fix e-mail overload.

Yet any tiny change that the Internet giant makes has cascading effects for businesses across the Web.

“I don’t like it,” said Ada Polla, chief executive of Alchimie Forever, a skin care brand. “My guess would be that you might log on to your Gmail 20 times a day, and look at promotions once a week.”

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The Biggest Threat to Email: Mobile Chat

Hamish McKenzie writes at PandoDaily:

Given its young demographics, its location-responsive functionality, its ability to exploit the power of its host devices, various revenue options, and its personal quality, mobile chat makes email look staid and inflexible. Those factors won’t be enough to kill email. Indeed, as a delivery mechanism for in-depth written interactions, it’s hard to imagine what could beat email. But when it comes to online communications, mobile chat’s advantages are perhaps significant enough to one day thrust email into second place.

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An Email to Check Your Facebook: Notification Insanity

John Herrman of BuzzFeed breaks down the notification nightmare that clogs our inboxes and reveals the desperate attention seeking by social media companies.

We Are Approaching Peak Notification:

But nagging users to come back to your site is a treatment, not a cure, and eventually it will stop working. This trend ends in two ways: Either every update on your service is sent to your users’ inboxes, at which point it’s hardly a service at all; or the sum of these notifications overwhelms your users’ inboxes, rendering them useless or leaving your messages unread.

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Updating an E-Mail Law From the Last Century

Somini Sengupta reports in the New York Times

The current statute requires a warrant for e-mails that are less than six months old. But it lets the authorities gain access to older communications — or bizarrely, e-mails that have already been opened — with just a subpoena and no judicial review.

The law governs the privacy of practically everything entrusted to the Internet — family photos stored with a Web service, journal entries kept online, company documents uploaded to the cloud, and the flurry of e-mails exchanged every day. The problem is that it was written when the cloud was just vapor in the sky.

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Google Testifies To Congress Calling For Email Privacy

Writing on The Verge, Carl Franzen reports that Google’s legal director, Richard Salgado, will testify in front of a subcommittee in the House of Representatives. Salgado will argue for a legislative update on the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

The subcommittee’s meeting subject: “Lawful access to stored content,” will deal with our society’s mismatch between new information technology and outdated legal paradigms.

Other companies and privacy advocates have spent years calling for updates to ECPA. The law currently gives government agencies and law enforcement organizations the ability to request all user email older than 180 days with just a subpoena, while access to newer email requires a stricter search warrant. The law has also been used to enable the government to request other cloud-based user information and even mobile device location information. But Google and those calling for reform want to see search warrants required to access all stored web user info and emails, regardless of their freshness or whether users have opened them.

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The Password As Paradox

After his entire digital life was hacked, writer Mat Honan pokes holes in the idea of the password. Logging in is supposed to be both easy and seamless for the user, but also private and hard to breach. But these two features are at cross purposes. Honan explores the paradox of the password.

Let’s say you’re on AOL. All I need to do is go to the website and supply your name plus maybe the city you were born in, info that’s easy to find in the age of Google. With that, AOL gives me a password reset, and I can log in as you.

First thing I do? Search for the word “bank” to figure out where you do your online banking. I go there and click on the Forgot Password? link. I get the password reset and log in to your account, which I control. Now I own your checking account as well as your email.

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