Thursday, February 10, 2005

E-mail as a database

BBC Online has an article on how e-mail services are slowly becoming personal databases. Following Gmail, all the big players now provide huge mailboxes. This space, according to the article, is being used to store a variety of information and not just plain old text mail. With an abundance of space, people now use their mailboxes to store everything from photos, videos, documents etc. While the article looks at how the major service providers’ strengths of searching and targeted advertising are going to make them money, I was more interested in how they could extend this database concept beyond mail only.

With a Google VoIP service rumour doing the rounds, an idea on how they could integrate it with Gmail – If Google does start a internet telephony service, it could easily allow users of it’s VoIP service to use Gmail as the front end for that, and at the same time use it as a database to store call history, even record and store conversations if both parties agree. With WiFi networks and VoIP phones becoming popular, such a service could be integrated with an online database too.

Maybe a few years down the line that’s what we’ll see. Google would have taken over our internet experience. We access the web through Gbrowser, all communication, mail and voice, will also be through that interface. If bandwidth is sufficient, make Google a proxy server for our browsing and we’ll have the ultimate database. Our entire online experience in searchable format, instantly. Scary? Absolutely. But, hopefully Google will ‘do no evil’ with our trust.

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