Mozilla Raindrop

Friday 23 October 2009This is over 13 years old. Be careful.

Mozilla Labs has announced Mozilla Raindrop, “an exploration in messaging innovation”, or a next-gen mail and messaging client.

I’m interested in this for a few reasons. First, it could someday be the way I read email, and goodness knows we could use better ways to deal with that mess. Second, it’s built on Python and CouchDB.

On the down side, it’s a rethinking of messaging, which is a quagmire where plenty of other enthusiastic innovators have lost their way before. Also, it’s in the very early stages, and so has a long way to go before it’s something people can use.

I’ll be interested to follow its progress, both as a usable piece of software and as a showcase for favorite foundational technologies.


I still think that someone needs to invent "unsend" in email. With all the fancy applications out there, and all of the great brains in the computer industry, someone should be able to create a way to take back a message you've sent and that you regret. Sort of an eraser for the Internet.
Yes! And a time machine, and a way to put toothpaste back in the tube...
Some email systems support "message recall" but they only work properly within the closed world of, say, a corporation. Once the message is out "in the wild", there's no way to get it back. It looks like the IETF is hard at work on this. Given the glacial pace of standards bodies you should expect universal support for "message recall" around the time that pigs fly.
GMail Labs actually has an "undo" feature for email sending. If you enable it you get a brief window (5 minutes?) during which you can undo the sending of an email -- they hold the message on their servers for a while before releasing it. This doesn't undo everything, presumably the message you retracted is still subpoenable (but presumably your saved drafts are as well).
I'd have a lot more time for all of these Mozilla Labs offshoots if they'd actually fixed things like this 11 year old bug affecting Firefox's HTML compliance. Yes, I get that new toys are always more fun to work on than old bugs, but it doesn't give me much faith in any of their end products.

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