Shortmail Looks To Keep Email Communications Simple

March 29, 2011

3:00 pm

Email is an every day necessity, but it can be somewhat overwhelming to keep up with. With the trend towards real-time communications, many people use email like chat, making it even more difficult to stay on top of it.  As a result, email can end up dictating your daily workflow routine.

Shortmail has been created to help ease this pain and make email a happier experience. Similar to the way Twitter put the 140 character parameter around public communications, Shortmail is offering a new way to communicate your more long-winded messages. It has a length-limit of 500 characters, and it’s also social, as it is linked to your Twitter account. Shortmail was created by Baltimore- and DC-based 410Labs, which includes David Troy, Matthew Koll and team. (You may recall that they also created the real-time Replyz.) David recently posted on the Shortmail blog a list of additional email pain points they are trying to address.

So what does Shortmail do exactly? It allows users to sign on via Twitter, where it creates a special Shortmail email address. Users can then send mail from Shortmail with a 500 character limit on each one. There are no attachments, and the interace is simple (see below). If you send a message from a Shortmail account to another traditional email address, the message includes a “Reply” button that returns messages to your Shortmail account–in 500 characters or less.  In essence, Shortmail puts a real-time short format front-end onto email. Messages are stored on Shortmail and are threaded like a conversation. They can be searched and archived just like regular email.

I can see Shortmail being useful for collaboration, and if they create a mobile app for iPhone and Android, it could play in the same class as the group texting and chat players (i.e. GroupMe, Groupflier, Beluga).

Since Shortmail already uses Twitter to sign you in, I could also see the service leveraging Twitter to send you direct messages to alert you of new Shortmail messages.  This will save the startup from purchasing their own SMS shortcode, which can be expensive to purchase and maintain for an early stage startup.

Give Shortmail a try.  They just released the beta and are starting to roll out the product more publicly today. Sign up here.

Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think about Shortmail!

Shortmail Inbox Screen-shot

Shortmail Inbox Screen-shot

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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