Email clients need to get clever

Coming back from a few days off work to a bloated inbox got me thinking, why isn’t my client helping me to get through the backlog? So here’s a few features i’d like to see..

  • If my out of office was on, rather than group my emails by date, group them by ‘received whilst away’
  • Watch what I do – if I repeatedly delete an email called “Spam Summary” then create a rule for me to remove them.
  • A lot of messages get sent to a group email and processed by a colleague in my absence in a conversation in which i’m not included, why can’t my email client/server interrogate the conversation ID and the message content, determine a completed task, and then suggest that the email is no longer necessary? (although the privacy issue may need resolving)
  • Remove meeting requests and invites for things which have occurred whilst I was away.
  • Remove duplicate emails, or group them into a single row in my client (GMail has this feature, and Outlook 2010 will have a similar feature too)
  • Identify emails like ‘Donuts for the team’, or ‘Team drinks tonight’, or ‘Leaving speech for Fred Bloggs today at 3pm’ etc

At a click of a button i’d like to see a summary of the emails identified for deletion, have been grouped, etc and then let me confirm the action to remove. I estimate this would reduce my inbox volume by around 40%, and let me concentrate on the important emails.

I know I could create rules for most of this stuff, but I have less spare CPU cycles than my computer.