Brad Feld

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The Email APIs Are Coming – But Where Are They?

Nov 19, 2007

Pete Warden has a good post up titled Google, Yahoo and MSN Mail APIsIn it, he points at the various “sort of APIs” that are “sort of public.”  Later that day, in response to Pete’s post (not really) Google released the Google Apps Email Migration API.  Progress.  Deva Hazarika – who runs ClearContext – followed with a post titled The three I’s of “Inbox 2.0” where he suggests the issue isn’t the inbox, but the address book. Finally Matt Blumberg, who attended the top secret email meeting that was at Fred Wilson’s office last week, finished us off with In Search of Automated Relevance where he talks about “the channel of communication.”

While a universal set of APIs isn’t the solution, I find the need for an API in the context of the ubiquitousness of SMTP to be entertaining.  Most of the “sort of APIs” are limited in some way (one directional, not secure, not all inclusive, limited to a finite amount of traffic, available only to premium accounts, broken.)  As far as I can tell, none of these APIs really address the core issues in Deva or Matt’s posts.

I shudder to think that we need another abstraction (integration?) layer.  But maybe we do, especially when you broaden “email” to “messaging.”