Gmail idea of the day: RSS

Alright, I know that i’ve probably been corrupted by Chris Pirillo on the subject, but RSS is a pretty elegant solution to many of the most annoying problems with the Web, not the least of which is that I don’t want to visit any site day after day.
As I was thinking about Gmail today, wondering whether to log in and check to see if I had any email to my address there (which is d1taylor@gmail.com) I realized that RSS could be a very cool solution to that problem, one that plagues all the Web-based email systems.

Here’s how I’d do it…

While not discussed too much, RSS has the ability to embed account and password information into URLs (as does, of course, everything that uses URLs). Why not have an RSS feed that I could subscribe to that would be just the from and subject information? I wouldn’t want to use my regular account password (since I don’t want to have my main account password stored on my computer, if I can help it), so I’d suggest that a second password be utilized for this purpose, one that wouldn’t work to log in to the Gmail service, but would authorize an RSS tap of the specified account only.

Expand this across the various web-based mail services and all of a sudden I don’t have to rely on my IM client to notify me that I have mail in my hotmail or yahoo mail account. For me, running on Mac OS X, NetNewsWire would do the trick just fine, thank you, even if it only checked once or twice daily.

What do people think of that idea? Or, to put it another way, how many of you have Web-based email accounts that languish for weeks on end without you checking in to see if there’s anything new?

12 comments on “Gmail idea of the day: RSS

  1. Dave? Are you feeling kind enough to send one of your blog readers a gmail invite? ๐Ÿ™‚
    (remove n0$p4m. from email)

  2. I wish I could, but I don’t have any invites: I had to go on bended knee to a friend to get my account in the first place. But, as I said, in so many ways it’s just another web-based email program, albeit quite elegantly designed.
    In terms of AWASU, it’s certainly not clear to me from reading the Web page whether it can track web-based email services such as hotmail that doesn’t – as far as I know – allow POP or IMAP access. But I could most assuredly be wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. The Awasu plugin only supports POP/IMAP. However, I’ve seens things floating around on the net that provide POP-like access to a Hotmail account and of course, Outlook Express also allows it so it’s possible to do it from a program and therefore possible to write a plugin to do it.

  4. Google for “yahoo pops”, or maybe it’s one word, I forget. I last used it a month ago, and it works perfect…. it’s a specialized spider that lets you treat yahoo like a pop3 account.

  5. I googled here while looking for a “gmail plugin” It seems a little early in the game to expect something like that but it was worth a shot. I’d doubt for some reason that google would make it (rssmail) easy to do. I had used a hotmail popper at one point and was disatisfied with the results opting for outlook instead (cant remember exactly why). It would be nice to pull xml mail snippets from a web app though. At that point, any piece of software or page on the web could tell you if you had email as long as there was some decent form of authentication. I work at a university where I could use something like this for campus email in our student portal which is already behind campus authentication. The possibilities are endless once you start thinking about desktop software, wireless devices, cellphones etc. I’m sure google has already thought about it. The question is – will they be willing to allow you to avoid their advertising scheme and how much will it cost them vs. make their users happy? They’re already giving us 1000MBs… Anyway, happy to be rid of hotmail’s 2MB limit even though I miss a few features. I guess you gotta pick your conveniences

  6. Right, but why use Gmail if you don’t want the adverts? Honestly, I think that’s a whole lot of hulabaloo over nothing: when I remember to pay attention, there are adverts that are more-or-less relevant to my messages displayed, but 99% of the time I don’t even see them.

  7. Gmail idea of the day: RSS

    “As I was thinking about Gmail today, wondering whether to log in and check to see if I had any email to my address there… I realized that RSS could be a very cool solution to that problem, one that plagues all the Web-based email systems. Here’s how…

  8. You never know how ideas can travel…

    This has been a classic subject of long discussions with friends of mine like EasyO and Panda… you get an idea, you talk a little bit about that, maybe jot down some of it… …then the day after, you browse to SourceForge or FreshMeat (if it’s a so…

  9. From GMail’s FAQ:
    “6. Does Gmail support automatic forwarding and POP3 access?
    Not at the moment, but Google believes in helping people access information whenever and however they want to do so. In the future you will be able to access Gmail messages from non-Gmail accounts for free or at a nominal fee.”

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