Andy Denmark is one of the founders of TripIt and their VP Engineering. Tripit, The online travel assistant that received $5.1M in funding earlier this week, is a service that helps you manage your trips. The main interface for getting information into their service is email. Instead of copy/pasting and submitting to a webbased form you simply forward all your confirmation messages to firstname.lastname@example.org. Their software then analyzes the content of the message and extracts all important information and plots in on an easy to read itinerary.
During his presentation today Andy challenged us to come up with more email centric interfaces like this. The benefits are clear. Almost everyone who uses the web has email. In fact, probably more people have access to email than access to the web.
Right now I use TwitterMail.com to send and receive messages for Twitter. I use email to send most of the photos I make to Flickr and I use email (in the background) to sync appointments with my partners via iCal. I also use email to post blogs now and then and instead of using a notebook I send my notes to an emailaccounts I reserve for just that purpose.
Some people even use email to browse the web:
Tripit.com makes it clear that email is a great interface for services and it is inspiring to hear their ideas about this. I can imagine that email is a great way to work with social networking sites. Instead of manually entering someone’s name and emailaddress into a website why not simply cc email@example.com when I email them? LinkedIn could parse this message, connect the sender (from address) and receiver (to address) and send us a confirmation after that. The first message could be archived with the account as an easy reminder of how you met. Simply, easy and scalable.
Any other ideas for using email as an interface?