The Future of the Inbox – Email Thursday



Sometimes stale is good. Stale bread, for instance, makes great croutons. Stale coffee can be turned into, well, stale iced coffee and even stale content can be updated and freshened up. And that works great on websites where the content is delivered on-demand. But what about email? What do you do when your email content goes stale like when an offer expires or information such as a tracking number changes?

Well, this week we have another installment from our “The Future Of Email” series and today’s topic is a new feature from Hotmail (Microsoft) called Active View. What might Active View be? Well, it is the newest approach to preventing content in your email inbox from going stale. Previously, once the email landed in an inbox, that was it. You had to hope that the user viewed the email and took action in a timely manner. But with Active View (and Google’s Gmail has a similar feature in beta) this issue now has a workaround. And believe me, it’s pretty darn cool even if you’re not a Geek Like Me. Let’s take a look at this new feature and how it may affect how you interact with your emails in the future.

Above is a perfect example of how Active View can work. This is an email from Orbitz that allows the user to actually interact and search for hotels and flights from within the email thus experiencing the same interface and search results as seen on the website. When you find the deal you want, you can click a link that takes you the site to book. Tracking numbers from shipping companies can be updated and seen real-time too so if you check the location of your package at 10am and it is in Tennessee, you can open the same email 5 hours later and see it has been scanned at the hub in Florida. And videos? Yea, you can even embed and play YouTube clips directly within the email. Other pilot companies include Monster, LinkedIn and Netflix. Awesome.