Home Xoopit: Proof that Gmail Needs a Better API

Xoopit: Proof that Gmail Needs a Better API

Email media management application


launched in private beta today (invite link below) and announced a $5m venture round from some big backers. Would a good feature set and reputation be enough for you to hand over your Gmail username and password to this application? It’s not good enough for me.

Xoopit is aimed at the widespread practice of sharing media like photos, vidoes and PDFs by email. If anyone but the big webmail vendors is going to launch an “inbox 2.0” type product, though, there’s going to have to be a better API that lets me access content without giving up my password.

Xoopit lets you view, sort and share all the media in your GMail inbox through a web page, Firefox plug-in or Google Gadget. Integration with other webmail programs is coming soon. It’s a pretty good experience, though readers here probably run in more sophisticated circles where plenty of media is shared on websites dedicated to that purpose. None the less, this could be a particularly good example of a mainstream end-user opportunity to leverage data portability – if it were able to be done correctly.

Xoopit doesn’t offer a Flash player to listen to music or view PDFs in your inbox, you still have to download those locally and consume them with other applications. (See PDFmenot.com, by the way.) The service may be appealing to more mainstream users who communicate almost entirely through email. Will those users give up the usernames and password to their email accounts, though?

If you’d like to try it out yourself, you can access a beta account through this link. We’ve written about email password horror stories here before and RWW does take any responsibility for anything that happens if you give a third party yours.

We Need Webmail Content APIs

Gmail released a Gmail Contacts API this month. That’s a great way to see who among your friends uses a new application you’re using. It does not allow access to the content of your emails, however. All the webmail vendors, most prominently Yahoo!, are working on creating an “Inbox 2.0” experience for users – moving beyond simple one-off messaging and offering an Attention Data driven, media savvy communication hub.

Should users demand more portability, though, for the actual content of our email? Secure portability of content into the hands of 3rd parties seems like a vital step in enabling a whole ecosystem of innovation. Otherwise instead of best practices in user authentication, we get stuck with virtual home decorators unable to anything for us unless we give them a copy of our house keys. At least the people in an analogy like that would be licensed and bonded. Let some brand new web app startup into my email account, with my username and password? No thanks.

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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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