If you go and look at your inbox right now, we're willing to bet that there's some email in there that's completely stale. There's no reason to reference it, search for it sometime down the road or keep it around for sentimental value. It's just expired.
If Other Inbox CEO Joshua Baer has his way, this email could simply delete itself, rather than lurking in your inbox and continuing the clutter.
According to CNET's Rafe Needleman, Baer spoke at the email-centric Inbox Love conference today and proposed "a standard that would let e-mail messages carry with them the date of their own irrelevance."
E-mails could use the "x-expires" header to tell the receiving in-box that they become outdated after a certain absolute date, or a certain time relative to when they're sent or received. Baer says this idea has been "bouncing around" for 10 years, but he's learned, "the best way to get a standard adopted is to work with individual companies first, and make it a de facto standard."
We recently wrote about a mobile app that worked to create self-destructing text messages, with the idea being that it would help keep communication secure. The idea here is much simpler and more obvious - your inbox is a cluttered mess full of irrelevant information that needs to go away.
Baer, of course, knows all about inbox clutter. His company, Other Inbox, is a wonderful email tool (which I just recently fell in love with) that categorizes all of the extraneous newsletters and notification emails so you can make sure to get the emails that matter.
If you'd like to hear more about Baer's proposal, there's a Google Group set up for discussion.