Mozilla unveils Raindrop communication platform

The company Mozilla, famous for its Firefox web browser, is constantly evolving its technologies; its Labs division regularly releases new products for testing, and today another has been pushed out. It's called 'Raindrop', and it aims to serve as an open-source, experimental communication and email platform for users.

Raindrop, found here, has been described by Mozilla as, "an exploration in messaging innovation being led by the team responsible for Thunderbird, to explore new ways to use Open Web technologies to create useful, compelling messaging experiences." It's in the form of a web-app, though to better describe it, we've embedded some videos below for you to watch. It's said that Raindrop is not intended to replace your current email solution, but to simply build on it by providing a much more intelligent way of showing messages.

According to TechCrunch, David Ascher (CEO of Mozilla Messaging) stated that in the future, Raindrop will support any communication technology that has an open platform (such as Facebook, YouTube, FriendFeed, etc.), helping to boost the service. Mozilla additionally hopes that developers will build Raindrop based applications, as they'll make an API available for those wishing to do so. Version 0.1 has been released today, which is obviously a very early prototype, though if you're tech savvy you can look about trying it out here, providing you use Safari, Chrome or Firefox. For the rest of us, Raindrop will no doubt be available sometime in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.

Raindrop UX Design and Demo from Mozilla Messaging on Vimeo.

Raindrop Software Components from Mozilla Messaging on Vimeo.

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" if you're tech savvy you can look about trying it out here, providing you use Safari, Chrome or Firefox. For the rest of us, Raindrop will no doubt be available sometime in the hopefully-not-too-distant future"

which of the "tech savvy" people bother using IE ? lol ... or is our poster admiting to a lack of tech savvyness?

f said,
which of the "tech savvy" people bother using IE ? lol ... or is our poster admiting to a lack of tech savvyness?

He might use Opera :)

(Argh, your name breaks quotes.)

I like that they are building the interface based on web standards that a lot of folks know. Hopefully see some pretty sweet themes and UI tweaks come from it. This alone may make it worth using, for me.

But feature wise, it is very underwhelming. As others have already pointed out, there are programs out there that already bring all these different messaging protocols together. The one thing they are emphasizing as the main distinguisher is that personal messages from friends and family tend to float above the more routine messages you get from services. This is only a problem in Email (for me anyway), and can be solved using email rules in outlook or rules that automatically label things in gmail.

To a large extent, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace has taken the place of personal emails. My private email services are more-or-less a notification service for the many things that are going on or I signed up for. In this case I want that information in a chronological order. Work emails are entirely different, on the other hand.

What's scary is I came up with this years ago and worked with a couple of people on a semi-working prototype for something very similar over 5 years ago - the problem was back then the openness around and interconnectivity hadn't really taken off and it resulted in us 'hacking' others to mimic a login to some sites, then doing a whole lot of sorting stripping out html and fetching and redisplaying etc, in whole it worked but was very intensive in load for the above reasons and subsequently slow - also a serious lack of funds to even get it off the ground meant it didnt go further.

We did however find a whole load of security holes, one major one allowed unrestricted access to a major email providers accounts if that account was currently logged in - which led us onto the next problem which was we would get something working and then someone would chance something and so whole chunks of code had to be reworked on a monthly basis. - fine if you have a huge team and funds, not so good when it was a few people working collectively.

Can't wait to see this go further.

but this is more than just a messaging protocol... did you watch the second video? its like an aggregator for the othe protocols, basically if there's anything that you remember reading and seeing on the internet, this thing aims to cover it...

I watched the first vid and it really seems like my gmail filters do the same thing.

oh ok, now I see that it serves as a hub for all your accounts. What a great tool for identity theft ;(

Wow these are some annoying videos to watch... the narrating is horrible! Add some personality and slow down when narrating, geez. Interesting concept but I don't see it becoming popular.

em_te said,
Don't forget it's open source. People are doing this without being paid in their basement.

at least they dont have to make it sound like theyre not getting paid to do it... like the second video should have been in mono, rather than having all the sound to the left...