There are some who say e-mail is dying, but is it true? Certainly, as technology advances, there are more ways than ever to connect and send messages that don’t rely on traditional e-mail servers. However, Peter Monaco, VP of Engineering for Communications Products at Yahoo, Inc., argued that instead of dying out, e-mail is transforming. As today’s keynote speaker at Hadoop Summit in San Jose, California, he had some insights into the future of e-mail.
There are two main kinds of e-mail messages, Monaco said. The first kind is personal and involves correspondence with people you actually know. The second is business-related and can include purchases made online, newsletters and promotions. While it’s true that the former is diminishing, with people preferring to send messages via text message or the various different apps available, people still use e-mail for business all the time. Perhaps even more so now, with more people than ever relying on e-mail for transactions instead of phone conversations.
But for those times you do correspond with a real human being, wouldn’t it be nice to get a notification, so you don’t have to keep checking and refreshing your inbox? And not have to worry that when you do get a notification, it’s simply regarding a shoe sale? This is a new feature that Yahoo has been working on. Knowing that no one would use such a feature if they got too many notifications about promotional e-mails or newsletters, Yahoo has been testing different ways they could offer such a tool.
First it tried looking at e-mail addresses themselves, but that didn’t work. There was no way for an algorithm to tell the difference between an address such as [email protected] and [email protected] There wasn’t anything in the syntax of the addresses themselves that would reveal if someone was a human or a bot. So the company turned to a new methodology.
Yahoo’s next tactic, which has been proven to be much more successful, was to look at the behavior of each e-mail address.