Eventual Deletion

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-04-23 Print this article Print

Is it possible to delete messages, or does everything continue to reside in AllMail?
Oh, no, no, that was just poor wording on our part. Its just that we make a variety of backups, and we cant guarantee instantaneous deletion. Stuff thats on tapes, and those are offline—we eventually delete it, but we cant guarantee an instantaneous deletion.
The question would be whether or not somebody could feel confident that if they wanted to delete something that it would eventually be deleted. Yes, eventually it will be deleted. With social networks, including your Orkut beta site, the idea that you can define a relationship with explicit metadata is somewhat brittle; its difficult to describe the subtleties of whos a friend, etc. Contrast that with what Dave Sifry and I are working on with attention.xml at Technorati and youre doing here: allowing the metadata that already exists in the blogosphere, or in your case, the e-mail space, to be derived from the actual data. I think that makes a lot of sense. You can do a lot of interesting things if you can just process existing data. One of the examples, and perhaps this stirred up some of the controversy, but next to our messages, we put ads which are related to the message, but we also put related Web pages, which can be a really good service for the user—I find them to be helpful all the time. I wondered about taking a mailing list I subscribe to and flowing the messages into the architecture. If you had an API, how would you develop it so that it would retain the characteristics of the ad displays as well? Youre saying, how would we still be able to make money, because people would just take the ads out? Yes, exactly. No, I think thats an important question. And in fact, as were working on providing forwarding [and] POP3, thats an important consideration there as well. I dont have a great answer; were still brainstorming. You could separate the streams but provide them both, because some of the target ads and certainly the related links are valuable information that is only going to come from you. Thats right, so maybe as long as we provide them, people will find them valuable enough that they will enable them regardless. Is free storage sufficient attraction for users to commit all of their information inside your service? Its the storage as well as the search functionality and the other features that weve put in. It really does work well, compared to any other Web mail service that Ive tried. Next page: Web mail for the enterprise?

Steve Gillmor is editor of eWEEK.com's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel