Posts from August 2008.

Microsoft Office Labs Email Prioritizer

Brad just blogged about a Lifehacker post about email innovations people want.  Right on the heels of that discussion, Microsoft Office Labs has released an experiment called the Email Prioritizer this week.  It’s for Outlook 2007 running on Exchange only and features two parts. (image from Microsoft)  Emailprioritizersmall_6

One is a "Do Not Disturb" feature that pauses new email from being sent from the Exchange server to your Outlook client. 

The other is an email prioritizer that puts 0 to 3 stars next to each email to help identify important email. 

Webware reviews the product and Todd Bishop writes about the project’s background based on a Microsoft Research project from 2005 led by Eric Horvitz.

This is interesting and exciting stuff to us at ClearContext, as  we’ve
been focused on prioritizing and organizing emails in Outlook based on a customizable set of parameters for a few years now in both our free personal product as well as in our Professional
paid version
– which also helps people manage workflow and projects within Outlook.

Over the past few years we’ve learned a lot about how email prioritization and triage can help people deal with overloaded inboxes.  It’s an important part of the solution, but only one of many required parts to help people deal with information more effectively. Really helping people solve the problem requires a lot more than just identifying important messages.

We’re currently beta-testing a new version of our completely free product,
ClearContext Personal (for Outlook 2003/2007 on Exchange or POP) that includes those inbox prioritization capabilities as well as advanced ways to
automate the filing and organization of messages and threads, view and work
with groups of contacts, explore attachments within email just like viewing
files in desktop folders, and manage unwanted email threads by
"unsubscribing" from them.   Enter your info on the beta page and we’ll send you download information so you can try it out.

It’s great to see Microsoft and others acknowledging what a critical issue information overload is for people, and we’re confident you’ll find ClearContext Personal a very useful tool to help highlight your most important contacts and messages – and much more.

Lifehacker, We’ve Got your Email Innovations Right Here


Lifehacker has posted a list of email innovations they would like to see become commonplace in email applications.  Between the items listed and wishes in the comments of the post, it looks like ClearContext has pretty much got Outlook users covered.  Let’s take a closer look.


From the post:


Snooze This Message



Sometimes you just don’t need to deal with an email message this very second, but you don’t want it cluttering up your inbox or lost in a folder somewhere. Adding a "Snooze button" to your inbox could solve the problem: You hit "Snooze" on a message and it disappears from view—until a day later, when it reappears again, unread and in your inbox, ready for processing.


ClearContext’s Defer feature pulls a message out of the Inbox until you have time to deal with it.


Faceted Search/Related Messages



Your email inbox and sent mail archive is basically a huge personal database of communication over time, and smart search can help you slice and dice it by topic and sender.


RelatedViewClearContext Pro and Personal have been showing message threads grouped together in the Inbox since v1 of the product.  In addition, the ClearContext RelatedView displays all messages, tasks and appointments in the current conversation as an integrated window within each item, giving a clear context for the current message you are working with.




From the post’s comments:


Notify me if no reply in X days.



Am I the only one who sees a need for this? How many times have you sent an e-mail that requires a reply and the jerk…I mean colleague…at the other end ignores it? Better yet if you could send an automated nag after a given period of time.


Use ClearContext Pro’s follow-up feature to notify you if you don’t receive a timely reply from an important email.






I get so much traffic at work from threads that I don’t need to see. When it first becomes irrelevant, I would like to be able to click a button and mute the thread, whereby all further messages in that thread go straight to a folder without cluttering my inbox.


Yep, got that too.  Unsubscribe – available in both Pro and Personal.


ClearContext also adds message prioritization, automatic filing, and advanced attachment viewing and management.  What else would you like to see?  Reply to All protection?  Attachment alerts?  Send your ideas to info at clearcontext dot com.