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Email: the worst.
Email is the worst thing. Unless you’ve reached inbox zero—in which case you are a liar—email is a modern scourge with no solution in sight. A thing called Front wants to make email (at least, your work email) less terrible by building a layer of collaborative tools on top of the busy places we get messages, like Twitter, Gmail, and our phones (via voice and messaging service Twilio, which Front is working with).
Front is designed as a productivity solution, but it’s a pretty user friendly one, with a nice clean interface that seems easy enough to navigate. Best of all, creating a selection of “canned responses” to have frequent cookie cutter replies at the ready takes seconds. Of course, like many good things, Front is a subscription-based service, but two users can manage one shared inbox for free (that includes email or Twitter, both of which Front calls “inboxes”). To score more shared inboxes among additional users, you’ll need to pay $29 or $99 a month.
There are a lot of products out there chipping away at the consummate awfulness of email without revolutionizing it, and Front is ultimately just another one. But it does have a quick, clean interface and a free user tier, which is more than some of those solutions can say. And the idea of tackling email from a “multiplayer” perspective is sort of intriguing, even beyond its business applications. What if an email address became a collective experience? What if we used email like Facebook groups, message boards, or group texts? What if the idea of the personal email address died an agonizing death, never to be heard from again? A girl can dream.
Taylor Hatmaker has reported on the tech industry for nearly a decade, covering privacy and government. Most recently, she was the Debug editor of the Daily Dot. Prior to that, she was a staff writer and deputy editor at ReadWrite, a tech and business reporter for Yahoo News, and the senior editor of Tecca. Her editorial interests include censorship, digital activism, LGBTQ issues, and futurist consumer tech.