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23 October 2009, 10:28

Raindrop - Mozilla's new messaging experiment

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Zoom Raindrop in development - one design for the email and messaging manager
Mozilla Labs developers have revealed project Raindrop, an approach to handling a large number of messages from email and RSS to YouTube and Twitter. Raindrop uses a mini web server to dig through messages from those sources and attempts to categorise them, pulling out important or personal messages and bringing them to the top of the user's view. Examples of this filtering include automatically detecting email from mailing lists, messages from friends or relatives or status messages from online retailers such as Amazon, and presenting them in context based on the preferences of the user.

The Raindrop server can be accessed using Firefox, Safari or Chrome to allow a user to read and respond to their messages. The project is being developed by the team responsible for Thunderbird, Mozilla's current email and messaging solution. The server is embeds Mozilla's Bespin project for fast development and uses CouchDB and Python as parts of its prototype.

The project is in its early stages and is currently described by the developers as "open experiment in messaging on the web" and is undergoing various iterations of interface and functionality design. There is no official download of Raindrop, but code is available on the Raindrop Hacking page which includes instructions on installing the server. Mozilla's long term plans for Raindrop development are unclear, but the project has the potential to be incorporated into Mozilla's Thunderbird and SeaMonkey, or be a standalone application.


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