I enjoyed this article Bringing the dumb pipe metaphor to email: Why Google wants to replace Gmail, talking about how email is a blunt service. As in it is a delivery mechanism.
The term dumb pipe analogy comes from networking lingo, it’s where someone provides a connection from A to B but don’t layer any services on top. The telcos that power our iPhones make a great example, as Apple controls that device whereby the telcos are restricted to just providing the data & connectivity for it to work.
The problem is email’s over-used and misused everyday. From transactional data, to communication to collaboration, so Google is working on putting a layer on top to make it more actionable. A Facebook newsfeed for email.
It’s a good framework to think of, in any industry the first challenge is building the pipes, it’s what we’re doing with Nudge building out the measurement, the second challenge once the pipes are in and well used is layering the intelligence on top for heavy users.
The third layer? Opening up an eco-system so others can build on top of that.