One place for all your messaging

The dream of having a single interface to deal with all your communications is one I’ve had for ages, and one that seems increasingly needed as the number of messaging services grows.

Imagine having to only open one app on your phone or browser tab on your computer to read SMS, email, Facebook messages, WhatsApp, etc., all in a single stream. Wouldn’t that be great. No more switching between SMS to chat to this person, WhatsApp for that person, work email, slack, etc., etc.

The Facebook Messenger app goes a little way towards this by having SMS messages for your phone, And Franz, free messaging desktop app that combines chat & messaging services into one application, goes a step further by having a long list of messaging services you can integrate, but both still have lots of limitations.

Of course there would be challenges. Not least, there are security concerns with a single service having access to all of your other accounts and providing means for quickly and easily spreading a phishing attack. And for a service like this to truly work it would need to address enterprise interoperability issues such as common format data storage. These challenges, and many more, along with the ‘we want to own it all and not play nicely with others’ approach of companies like Facebook are why we don’t have this kind of thing right now. But I can dream…

Perhaps an MVP could start with providing a simple notifications list of messages (and not other notifications like phones do) and collect data on how many messages people get from which services, which messages they respond to immediately, and which they leave till later. Understanding this user behaviour would then be used to improve the UX allowing users to filter the message stream in different ways, set reminders to read certain messages at certain times, prioritise senders, etc., etc.