Home Thunderbird 3, Raindrop and the Future of Mozilla Messaging

Thunderbird 3, Raindrop and the Future of Mozilla Messaging

It’s been two years since ReadWriteWeb last published the Thunderbird 2 review. Since then Thunderbird has been restructured away from Firefox into Mozilla Messaging and the group is finally releasing its desktop email application, Thunderbird 3. While the launch has been widely anticipated, the fact that the entire project is open source means that the company’s point releases have been hashed out in clear view. ReadWriteWeb caught up with CEO of Mozilla Messaging David Ascher to hear about the latest updates to Thunderbird as well as the company’s plans for open conversation aggregator Raindrop.

After meeting Ascher in San Francisco and having recently covered both Wave and Novell Pulse-related stories, ReadWriteWeb’s first question was obvious: Would Mozilla be merging Thunderbird and Raindrop for a Google Wave-like experience?

Answered Ascher, “While some engineers in Mozilla Messaging are working on both Thunderbird and Raindrop, we have no immediate plans to merge the two services. Thunderbird is a desktop client and Raindrop is hosted on the browser. These are separate services for separate types of users.”

Ascher explained that Raindrop is still very much experimental and unlike Google Wave, Mozilla Messaging is not interested in creating a new protocol. Instead the service uses an open API to pull feeds and conversations out of existing communication tools. Meanwhile, Thunderbird is viewed as a desktop messaging client. For now, the group’s priority is further improving both the Thunderbird product and the development environment. According to Ascher some of Thunderbird 3’s best features include:

1. Search with Advanced Filtering: Thunderbird 3 allows users to search with a number of filters. Generally when we’re searching for a note we know who some of the message participants are, we might remember if there is an attachment and we’d likely know who sent it. Thunderbird 3 also gives users the option to search by date via a timeline view and omit those who are not a part of the desired email.

2. Tabbed Email: Similar to Firefox’s tabbed browsing, Thunderbird users can view emails in separate tabs and switch between tabs for easy referral. This is a great feature for group activities, travel and planning purposes.

3. Set up Wizard: Rather than being required to know your IMAP, SMTP, SSL/TLS settings, users can simply provide their name, email address and password to setup and sync new accounts. With this ease-of-use new staff and volunteers might actually have a chance to being up and running in the morning of their first day of employment.

4. Smart Folders: Users can view all of the incoming messages from their separate email accounts in one long stream or break them up in to separate folders.

5. Add-Ons Manager: Similar to Firefox’s Add-On environment, Thunderbird is offering users the chance to download extensions, themes and plug-ins. Some of the most interesting ones include the Lightning Calendar client as well as plans to build a service where users can track Twitter followers and follow them back from within the messaging client.

Ascher sees this level of customization as one of Mozilla Messaging’s strengths. Says Ascher, “Thunderbird is flexible for those who want to personalize it. As an organization, we’ve always empowered our users to choose the functionality of our products.”

To download Thunderbird visit getthunderbird.com.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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