Rev Your Engine: Organize and Automate Emails, Data, and Information

April 17, 2013

5:00 pm

The average worker spends about three hours of the day sifting through email. You are working on a project when a new email comes in, you read it, and realize your coworker is asking for presentation data from a three-week-old meeting; now, where did you put it?

David Johnston, Patrick McGuninness, Curtis Lacy, and Chris Orem, having dealt with combined inboxes accumulating 50,000 or more emails a week, decided to deal with email overload by designing Engine. Engine is an email tool that, added as a Chrome extension, pulls data from all corners of your digital life.

“Early on we thought we would create a separate website,” says Johnston. “It is tough to change user behavior, though, and the last thing we wanted was another program for users to log into. With Engine, users do not have to leave the page at all to stay as close to their workflow as possible.”

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Engine operates as a sidebar instead of an independent program or website. While it runs with Gmail by default, users can integrate contacts, calendars, social media, and IMAP and POP emails from any other providers.

The Engine team believes that people have fractured digital lives that are in need of upkeep, and that there is a growing need for personal information managers in the world. There are major companies, like Amazon, Apple, and Google, that are trying to aggregate and vertically integrate data in their own way.

However, the problem remains that their solutions act independently of each other. “As a user, I have Apple, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo products,” explains Johnston. “I live in many universes, yet none of them can communicate with, or within, one another.”

Difficulty managing raw data and information from many different digital worlds is a real issue. It can lead to a loss of value, both professionally and digitally, because users cannot keep track of important channels. “We want to be a personal information manager for a broad set of people,” says Johnston.

Based on cutting-edge, non-relational databases, Engine can index incoming information, compile it into a database, and then use it in the future to deliver the most pertinent results to the user when needed.

“People are bombarded with this huge, overwhelming amount of information,” Johnston explains. “Why not change the current flow of information, then, so that the applicable stuff stays in clear sight?”

Engine is looking to add event detection and dynamic email in the near future. The former will automatically program appointments based off of information within incoming emails. The latter will deliver a personalized report of the top ten most important aspects of your digital life that day. All of this will remain within Engine and will not require other apps or outside programs.

Having the luxury to communicate with all of your services through one centralized hub can help individuals to manage their overflow of data and information more effectively. “It is ambitious, but I like a big challenge,” says Johnston, excitedly. So, if you find yourself overwhelmed by your email situation, get Engine and see what it does for your productivity.

Engine will be featured at the Tech Cocktail Austin mixer – join us!

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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America’s Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He’s the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he’s off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing…or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach.

Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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