We Are Still Alive!
Not much activity here lately but, rest assured, we are still alive. The current implementation is ticking along very nicely and barely needs any attention. Nonetheless, it is looking a bit dated now so we regularly muse about building a refresh and adding some new features. As always, life gets in the way.
We'd be interested in your opinions on any of the following items:
Email us at email@example.com with your thoughts.
Should we Open Source?
We've never opened the source because, once in hand, it would be trivial for someone to clone the site and claim it as their own. This is the classic open source question. On the one hand, if someone else wants to spend their time and money setting up and running this thing then, great, less work for us! But, on the other hand, we do harbor greedy thoughts of re-monetizing the service some day in some way. Afterall, we did charge for runs on non-gmail domains for quite some time. Whilst the returns were extremely modest, the occasional little cheques were well appreciated fun money.
We're not going to ever turn this into a real business because it is a directly parasitical model entirely subject to Google. If we ever started making real money on this they could trivially change something to kerb our impact.
If we opened the source would anyone care, or contribute?
Can we strip attachments?
We've looked longingly many times at working out a way to strip attachments from emails. There are some reasons why this has never eventuated:
We don't want the responsibility of deleting people's stuff. The moment we start removing things from people's accounts is the day we open the door to people, rightly or wrongly, accusing us of deleting that one precious and irreplaceable file they did not want removed. Never deleting anything is a certain way to avoid that.
It is technically difficult. We can copy the email and remove the attachment easily enough, but then what do we do with it? We can't overwrite the existing email because Google treats a backdated email with extreme prejudice, and we can't create a new one because the datestamp would move it from it's place in history to now. Generally it's a tricky operation because to all appearances it is mischievious.
Do you have a solution to these issues?
Can we report the actual space usage?
A while back, and periodically, google change the rules about what counts as space towards the total and what does not. I've actually built the code to read from google exactly what the measurements are, but have never released it, as I've never quite found the time to make it look good, to test it in the wild, and people always react negatively to change, even good change. So... it shouldn't hold us back, but it does.
Not big mails, but lots of little ones?
Finding the big mails is great for reclaiming your space but what about all those little emails, all alike, which cummulatively add to your total. I'm getting close to my own space limits again now and think what I really need is a tool which groups all those together, tells us how much space they're actually consuming, and removes all but the most recent ones. One day!
Would you use this feature? How would you like it to work?
Waiting, waiting, waiting... for google
Most of the time the email scanner is doing nothing but waiting for google to respond. This is very inefficient and for a long time I've tried to work out how to manage and isolate lots and lots of scans operating in parallel. In my day job I've learnt a lot more about that kind of thing which has given ideas for how to do it here. Can't wait to do it. Not much would change from the user's point of view, but the capacity and speed of searches, especially during surges as a result of media interest, would be vastly improved.
But then, as long as we're re-engineering the thing again, why not put everything on the client-side? The runs don't take hours anymore, so it is somewhat feasible to rebuild it with an architecture that does absolutely nothing on our servers, and operates entirely within the client's browser. Very safe.
Do you understand the difference? Would you prefer to leave your browser open whilst it runs, or pass the job, and authentication, to a remote server?
Reimplement the google app
For a long time findbigmail was in the google app store. This functionality was broken when Google turned off OAuth1 authentication and forced us all to OAuth2. I suspect a lot of people who use Google as their multiuser domain wide email system would really appreciate putting that back into play.
Do you use Google Apps? Do you miss, want, need the google appstore plugin?
Implement UnSend mail
Speaking of people using Google Apps for their company email we've had a long held, unrealised, ambition to implement a feature which allows an administrator to 'unsend' an email which was sent within their google apps domain. The use case is companies, and schools, that deem a particular email inappropriate and seek to withdraw it from their system.
Obviously anyone who has read the email can't unread it, but we could make it magically disappear from all inboxes. Thus anyone who hasn't seen it, will not. And anyone who wants to go back to it, after it's been recalled, won't find it.
Is 'unsend mail' a feature your organisation would pay for?
Tell us what you think
Apologies for not doing any of these things with our spare time.
This was just a note to say this site has not been forgotten or abandoned. It's always on our minds. It's just a matter of making it the top of list of all the things we could do today.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.