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EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: This will blow away your mobile email client

I was the first journalist to look at http://pingapp.com/

What is it? It's an email client (first for iOS, later for Web and Android) that turns your Gmail (or Yahoo or AOL or others) into something that looks more like a message stream in a chat app.

This is subtle but huge. I think this is going to be one of the hottest consumer apps to come out in the fall.

I just shot a short video look, click on the animated GIF to see that. #throughglass  

Why is this a big deal?

Well, it makes email much more fun and really helps you get to the meat of email quickly. 

It works on top of Gmail and other email clients (if you use PingApp and email someone who doesn't have PingApp they just get a standard email -- if they have the app it turns that email into more of something like a Facebook or What's App message).

It also does other things, like video calls if both parties have the app. 

Really transformative for email. Finally some real innovation for email clients on mobile. This blows away Mailbox and the Gmail app.
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98 comments
 
Wow, their home page looks really interesting.
 
Reserved my spot sir. Thanks for the heads up on this. Definitely on my Radar. 
 
+Ali Razzouk I assume you are sarcastic. Like I said, I got an exclusive first look and they don't have their website or other sites ready to go yet. This is just a little taste of an interesting new thing coming in September.
 
I'm skeptical but excited to try. Skeptical because email is very different to comments and chat. But excited because love new disruptive products
 
Too bad they rolled out only for a minority instead of all the Android users. Never understood that.
 
+Zee M Kane I was skeptical too, but after seeing it and trying a bunch of weird edge cases I was very impressed. This looks like the real deal while Mailbox seemed far less significant and not nearly as well thought out.
 
I agree with +Zee M Kane will need to try it out. I hope their method of rolling it out is better than Mailbox's method.
 
I for one am not interested in having my email look like Facebook.
 
I'm doing email no differently than I did 10 years ago. Maybe this will change that? 
 
+Marc Roelofs I am only using Android now for my phone, so gave them shit about that (I do have an iPad Mini that I'll test this out on). But there are MANY reasons why developers go iPhone only to start (particularly startups who can only afford a couple of developers).

1. Usage on iOS is WAY higher than Android. Not even close, most of the mobile app companies tell me.

2. Most influencers use iPhones. I've seen this over and over when I speak at conferences around the world. Most tech passionate people are on iOS, not Android (80% of most conferences I speak at are iOS users).

3. The users of iOS tend to be richer, which makes monetizing easier.

4. Most investors in Israel and Silicon Valley use iPhones (you can see this when you go to a VC-oriented conference).

5. Apple rewards great startups, like this one, that ship exclusively on Apple, with featured spots, etc, which means hundreds of thousands of users.

That said, times are switching. More and more "cool kids" are getting Google Glass which usually switches them over to Android (because Glass works better with Android).

But I still get pitched mostly iPhone stuff by new startups for a whole lot of reasons.
 
How is this an improvement?

Beware of people saying things like, "This blows away Mailbox and the Gmail app."
 
Randy: wait until you see this. I think you are wrong. I was skeptical too, but this makes email a lot more immediate, fun, and has much less noise.
 
I gave them my number. Hopefully we normal boring people will have access soon. :)
 
Isn't this exactly what Google promised us at I/O (and Wave, Buzz, Plus, etc)?
 
+Khürt Williams easy: it strips out all the crap in an email conversation flow, and makes your inbox MUCH more efficient. There's a bunch I'm not allowed to talk about, either, until it launches. This will be a big deal for email productivity over using the Gmail app.
 
+Warren Whitlock Google promises lots that doesn't show up. I don't think Google will be able to do this. It fundamentally changes how email works and, as +Khürt Williams demonstrated very well, people are scared and skeptical of change. 
 
They got my Google Voice number. We'll see.

Why SMS and not email address?
 
always enjoy the content of Robert's videos, but really dislike the quality of them...horrible audio and earthquake shaking video take us back to having someone shoot the video and mike up Robert and his guests
 
+Robert Scoble Could you explain why this is better in terms of usage ? I don't really get it. It looks good but I'm not sure why it's better to use. Is it faster to read and reply ? 
 
I am looking forward to trying it, right now I have a convoluted combination of Mailbox and Dispatch that I am using in order to do what I want with email
 
+Robert Scoble I'm not dissing it - it's imaginative , but it won't "blow away my email client", nor will it be "much less noise" - in fact the latter looks like it's the opposite. Great, instead of one quick look at my emails, and make decisions on what to do with them, I'll have to scroll....on my phone..

Hey, you can actually do that in Google+ by "posting" privately to one or more people. So how's that interface going - combined with all the other streams?

I'm sure it'll appeal to others, maybe even most, but just by looking at the video, not me.
 
I guess we'll see when it releases 
+Robert Scoble, but myself, I use email much differently than I use social media or messaging, so I'm not convinced I'd want email to act more like either of those. In fact I have completely disabled the "conversational" threaded view in Outlook. 
 
Their homepage says "Enter your iPhone number". Seriously, Robert? It's like saying "Get lost, loser" to Android-users. Can they really afford that? Doesn't strike me as very visionary
 
+Ed Chavez sorry, you haven't even seen it yet and already you are drawing incorrect conclusions. This makes email much more productive. We'll see you in September. Stop being such a naysayer without even seeing the full product. Geesh.
 
+Euro Maestro way faster to read and reply and it's much better organized, as well. Duplication is gone, etc.
 
Thanks for the update +Robert Scoble... I live in Mailbox now, so I am super psyched to try this! 
 
+Randy Pollock dude, this is just something quick and dirty. I wasn't even expecting to do a video here, I usually don't when a company is two months away from first release. This is significant enough I wanted to share live right now production values be damned. If you go to http://www.building43.com those videos are all highly produced and edited. I'll do a "pro" video with PingApp in September for that channel.
 
To be one of the first to get this app when it comes out.
 
+Robert Scoble thanks for explaining those points. I can see some truth in them but also a lot of (self propelling) myth. I agree that many influencers in tech use iOS but I would not label them as tech passionate. Tech people around me all love Android and despise iOS. The people I meet with iOS's are tech-managers that have floated to the top and are in total panic when their PC or Mac acts strange. Never touched real tech in their lives.
It seems to me that the people deciding these things are confused. Even if what you state is true, nothing beat sheer marketshare, and there are many many more Androids sold on a daily basis. Those decision makers should listen to the market and not to the latest hype rumours.
 
You primarily mention using this for email products like gmail or yahoo mail +Robert Scoble, but would you also use this for your Rackspace corporate email?

I find that using email for corporate business is much different than using email for staying in contact with your friends and family.
 
+Robert Scoble Makes sense.

My iPad has become my über sized phone over the last year.

Didn't think I would carry it around since its heavyish but with LTE, Talkatone, Skype, and a headset it does everything a phone does sans monthly contract.

With the right ratio of wifi to LTE usage the iPad hardware is effectively free compared to a monthly phone plan.

I'll go one size smaller, iPad mini with retina when that comes out, but a phone number is just not a good way of reaching some people.

To get me back into phone land the telecom companies would have to match or surpass Skype voice quality and offer low cost plans.

Oh, and being less creepy would help too.
 
+Randy Hudson sorry, I ONLY use Gmail for EVERYTHING now. At Rackspace they are still on Exchange and that won't be supported, at first, unfortunately. 
 
I think that a chat-based ui is great for a lot of emails.

However, if I'm writing a formal email to someone, like a businessperson or a professor, I still want a traditional email ui.

What would really be perfect is to bring both together into a single app, casual and professional emails, and include integration with other forms of chat-based messaging systems.
 
I'm using it forever and i knew you'd like it!
 
+Marc Roelofs sorry, that does NOT match my experience at all. Whenever I'm with tech passionates I see mostly iPhones (and i get around the world a LOT).Yes, the market share numbers are going Android, but NOT with tech passionates and/or influentials. The data does NOT support you, by the way, according to Starbucks and eBay CTOs. They say iPhone is still more important than Android.
 
Something has to be done about e-mail in general. Signed up for this, hope it is as good as you say.
 
+Nick Felker this does NOT change the email sent at all. You are misunderstanding this product. Let's talk in September.
 
+Robert Scoble I know that this app is mostly a skin for an email client, although it seems to prioritize short, simple messages. Is it just as easy to write a longer, formal email and include attachments? If so, then I'll certainly get on board with this app.
 
I guess that leaves me out +Robert Scoble. I do have gmail, but all 3 of my primary email accounts are on Exchange.
 
When I think "tech passionates," I think serious geeks/tinkerers ... Linux enthusiasts and people who fiddle with Arduino boards -- those sorts of folk. They are more likely to run Android. 
 
I expected Hangouts to be able to do this. Email is such a dinosaur at this point. A very stable reliable dinosaur...but in age - a dinosaur still. There has been literally NO innovation in Email since the conversation-view brought together by Google/Gmail (that's where I first saw it). I love this! It's awesome! Cut away all the crap and show the content! This is brilliant and brilliantly simple! Though I'm skeptical of possibly spreading out my Gmail access. :-D
Hangouts though... so many expectations..such a huge DUD! Hate the damn thing! It's SLOWER...CRAPPIER...UGLIER..and does NOT do anything more than Google Talk! I mean sure there's Hangout apps which are GREAT! But hangouts WAS available as a part of Google+ ! I don't see why Talk was replaced by something slower, uglier, and built by someone totally blind to UX!
 
+Christopher Carr Using an iDevice for some people is similar to wearing a suit and a tie or driving an expensive car for others. They think they're just not taken seriously otherwise. People with an influental mission want to be taken seriously.

Modern cult rituals.
 
What really amazes me here is how smooth the Glass video was.
 
The great thing about email is that everyone has it and it is practically free for everyone. With all of the current different chat apps you have to convince the person to use whatever service you are on. With SMS it is usually tied to your phone (although I work around this by using Google Voice)
 
I blew Mailbox off my phone long ago. The Gmail app is fine for me, because my email has been so limited by 1)SaneLater and 2)  people who don't use email to communicate anymore. I just use Google+, too.
 
I'm not sure what the problem with Gmail is... Gmail has been in "conversation" format since its inception, which is really, really easy to use. As far as I've noticed so far, there's no major difference in behaviour on the Android app either...
 
+David McMeekin that's one of the best parts of ping - there's no walled network. anyone with an email address can use it. 
 
+Robert Scoble you misunderstood my comment. I'm not afraid of change. I just calling out your hyperbole about a product that still doesn't exists.
 
C'mon Guys!...If +Robert Scoble say is cool....is cool!...someone that takes a shower with #glass  known what he is talking about.
i already reserved my number but im in Japan.Also my Brother who lives in Spain..My concern is a worldwide launch? do you have any info on that Robert?
I really want to have a easy email solution...they way we still handling email are slow and painful.Email really needs a redesign!
 
+Robert Scoble True - like I said, based on the video . I'm seeing faces instead of letters, and what looks like an email list or conversation thread in "chat style".

Perhaps you should hold off until more details can be made public - as it stands (the short video), it doesn't blow away anything....

I'm still reveling at "attach money in #Gmail  " and has my current vote for most productive change in email in 2013....
 
+Robert Scoble As a huge fan of mailbox, I look forward to anything that could improve upon that. Mailbox is awesome
 
Is this somewhat similar to MailApp? I believe thats the name. Not fully conversational or streamy but more do now or later kind of deal.
 
+Marc Roelofs android is a priority for us, we just have to start somewhere :)
on top of robert's list of reasons as developers it's easier for us to create a 'smooth' experience on iPhones so we start there
 
+Jannik Lindquist Android is a priority for us. we're already working on the android version.  as a small startup you just have to start somewhere :)
 
It looks nice but i will have to try it to find out. +Robert Scoble is it available outside US? I get an error message when trying to put my phone number, (tried in different ways) since i am from Peru.
 
+Erez Pilosof thanks for explaining. Making an iOS release first seems easier, but isn't really. Most developers get trapped by iOS specific non-standard features and these are not easily ported to other platforms. Also debug cycles are much faster and easier on Android, important with a beta. Also, if you're really succesful Apple will put it in the next release of iOS and dismiss you from the store.
But good luck with the app. I will certainly try it when it's on Android.
 
Thanks for the tip, like the idea, but must also wait until an Android App is available, sigh!
 
They will be pushing SMSs to the phone?????     Probably, we will have to wait and see. 
 
I think that guy has more troubles with cable managing then email :-P 
 
+Erez Pilosof always eager to try out something new when it comes to old-fashionned email! but being on android, i guess i'll have to pass for now.
 
Looks promising. By the way, it doesn't seem to work to sign up to the waiting list from outside of the US. Anyone else having this problem too?
 
I'm in Canada and got an SMS that "you are pretty early" so seemed to work for me.  My phone is Android, though.
 
You mean like the new Google Hangouts works?
 
+Thomas Van den Elzen should work internationally, where are you located so I can double check with our SMS provider, sorry for the trouble
 
I have the same problem as Thomas. I am loxated in Peru and just get an error message.
 
Thanks for the heads up
 
Interesting idea. I have to know, though. Does it feel weird or wrong doing an interview #throughglass, +Robert Scoble ? I mean, how far did you have to bend over to show us the url? Glass needs a zoom feature above and beyond what is acceptable for the eyes to see. 
 
+Ken Yu Xobni isn't even the same kind of thing. Xobni shows you more information about people who emailed you. PingApp is a full-blown mobile email client.
 
I'm glad someone's actually bringing this to life because couple years ago I thought about doing it.
 
Where is it?  I'm really wanting to try this app.  I thought it was due out in September?
 
Gmail attempts to do this, but it doesn't work well
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