Email has been allowed to stagnate - and I don't think anyone really noticed!
Email has, as we all know, been around for a really long time. One could make a case that's it's been the most consistent feature of computing in the history of computers.
I use email quite frequently - though I must admit my habits have changed. It's more transactional these days. I use it to stay informed on things like online orders, GetGit activity, and the GOG.com summer sale.
When I was younger, email was an exciting way to write digital letters to those I knew. For a time I compiled the coolest stories, jokes, quizzes, and links from my friends into a single newsletter that I called: "The Super Rockin' Awesome Virtual Adventure". It was silly, but I enjoyed putting it together every month and my friends loved seeing their contributions added in. I loved getting emails from actual people - it was always exciting to hit that "Send/Recieve" button.
This experience has been replaced with instant messaging - and it's much less exciting. An email took intention and focus. When someone sent you an email you know they had sat down and thought of you and crafted an email for you to read. Instant messaging is usually an off-the-cuff text-squirt - super useful, but much less personal.
I miss email being enjoyable. Things have pretty much frozen since Gmail was introduced... until now.
Hey.com is awesome:
I won't ramble on forever because their site says it all - but I've been using Hey for only a couple of weeks but it feels like the most natural thing ever. I find myself looking for excuses to write emails to people I know because I enjoy the interface so much.
Aside from that, the amazingly well-designed productivity features are perfect. I can easily separate any person-to-person correspondence from the transactional pile with things like "Reply Later" and "Set Aside". The Screener is also a genius idea. By setting up your email to have an allowlist (rather than a deny list) you have full control over what you see. This feature has also made migrating a breeze. I've had two Gmail inboxes for a long time - I set them both to forward to my new Hey.com address. As I get emails, I can screen them by unsubscribing to whatever it was before blocking, logging into whatever account is associated with the service and updating my email address, or just let it on through. It's a really easy way to transition.
As if all that wasn't enough - Hey.com is privacy-focused. They intercept tracking pixels from marketing emails and prevent them from reporting on things like, when you opened the email, what device you were using, or how long you looked at it. We've given away a lot of our privacy these days for the sake of convenince. Gmail is a great example - it's free! But they track EVERYTHING you do and use that data to inform advertisers - which is fine if you are aware and accepting of this practicing - but the sad truth is that most people just don't realize how monitored they are, particuarly when it comes to emails.
The price tag may seem steep ($99/year) for a service that is offered for free everywhere, but you're getting much more than email. Aside from the security considerations mentioned, they do not sell or share any info they receive. Additionally, they have some of the best customer service out there. I sent a question about the light/dark theme and not only did they respond in a matter of minutes - but they rolled out a feature shortly after that allowed me to manually change the theme!
Do yourself a favor - ditch Gmail or whatever other service you are using and sign up for Hey.com. I can assure you it'll be your best friend in no time.
Wherever you go, there you are.