ReMail announced this afternoon that it's been acquired by Google and there's a pretty interesting story behind this cool technology that could inspire future developments in Gmail.Email startup
The news was announced by ReMail CEO Gabor Cselle on his blog today (we learned about it first via CenterNetworks). Gabor was a former Gmail intern and was YCombinator funded. There are even more interesting elements to this story than that, though.
- The Reboxed application that sorts your contacts by priority was really interesting. It was like a little game that scrolled through your contacts, displayed two at a time and asked you to prioritize one over the other. Your individual ratings and the aggregate ratings of particular email contacts across all ReBoxed users were then used to bring emails from high-priority senders to the top of your inbox. It was a really fun little feature. While many data-centric startups would have just picked up email prioritization based on implicit behavior (whose emails you open and reply to) there was something to be said for allowing explicit rankings in a game-like setting. Whose emails are more important to you, your boss's or your mom's?
- That Google just bought something that's all about one of the iPhone's core functions, email, is interesting. Sure, the app is shuttered now, but imagine if Apple had decided to buy ReMail instead. If Cselle was working on the iPhone's native email application, that would have been better for Apple than this may turn out to be if he helps make Android's email the best in the mobile world.
- ReMail's founder was previously a VP of Engineering at the very ambitious Outlook plug-in provider Xobni. He left Xobni and ended up creating something very different. Cselle says he had a "multi-step plan for global email domination" but received advice "that instead I should build something small, simple, and useful." The end result? "It worked," he says.
- The man that gave him that advice and invested in his company, was Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail.
- Finally, Google just acquired a native mobile app, built on another platform. Much has been made of Google's emphasis on moving everything to HTML5 and the mobile web. But here's evidence that you can build an innovative application in an entirely different direction and still capture the company's eye. (Admittedly it probably helps to be super connected like Cselle was.)