Between the ubiquity of Outlook and the fact that Gmail has more people than the Southern Hemisphere – really – you could be forgiven for throwing some side-eye at a startup looking for market share in email services. I mean, I did, and I’m a) a tech journalist b) exactly the kind of geek for geek’s sake who installs random emails client for fun.
But PickedMail might just have more to it than a toy for techs to tinker with (heck yes alliteration!)
PickedMail’s pitch is simple enough: it’s a set of learning algorithms applied to your email usage. While you work, it picks up your habits, then sorts, tags, displays and stores your messages in ways customized to your unique preferences.
My nerd kindred out there are already scoffing that PickedMail isn’t anything new; fundamentally, it’s just an AI assistant limited to your email. That’s… true, really.
It’s also the strongest part of their service.
As a rule, duplicating functionality is not a smart move. “We do the same things the other guys do” is not a recipe for market share, especially when the guys in question have ten digits of committed customers.
That’s not true here.
Gmail owns a hemisphere, not Google, and very much not Google Assistant. Gigantic names, not just Google but Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, have gone hard for their various robot butlers, and to date they haven’t gotten a proportionally gigantic response. They’ve gotten lots of ink, limited consumer interest (I’m looking at Cortana right now and I can’t remember the last time I asked her something, though that may just be residual Halo trauma) and a non-negligible degree of backlash.
There are plenty of reasons folks are lashing backwise at AI, but one of the big ones, aside from the fact that between Cortana, Alexa and Siri they all sound like the evil computer from a sci-fi movie, is that it obscures functionality in the name of convenience, that folks are getting stuck with algorithms that don’t suit them and that they can’t easily fix. Another is compatibility: any one company’s robot may not always work and play well with other companies’ robots, or indeed other companies.
Why to pick PickedMail
PickedMail fixes both problems. First, functionality is as exposed as exposed gets: a plain old swipe interface will get you right into its little robot brain, there to change labels, fix storage schemes and generally fiddle with to your heart’s content. Second, you want to talk compatibility? It literally syncs with Gmail. If, like me, you already run your life out of that monolith, PickedMail isn’t just an email-specific AI, it’s an extra layer of useful functionality on top of the already insanely functional Gmail client.
PickedMail might be what it is on paper: a startup entry into a saturated market. But between the services it provides and, above all, the problems it says it can fix, problems that companies a thousand times their size haven’t found solutions for, it may also be worth a look.
If a stab at Email 2.0 sounds like your cup of Darjeeling, PickedMail is currently in public beta at Picked.Email.