Talking with Buzz this morning, he reiterated something he’s said to me before: Outlook is a platform. (Others are on this train too: Anil from Six Apart and Omar from the Hotmail team have both written on this subject.)
This is where I think Gmail will head. And all it’s going to take is for Google to add an RSS/ATOM reader to Gmail. Just like that, they’ll create a killer app for e-mail, enhance their searching algorithms (think of all the rich data they’ll have by aggregating feed reading behavior with search behavior), and start to seamlessly blend the web, messaging and syndication. And if they integrate Blogger into Gmail? Well then you’ve round-tripped searching, browsing, reading, writing – - and further added to the volume of content Google can index.
One last note on Gmail — the invite-only approach to a beta roll-out was brilliant. Not only did it create a feeling of exclusivity, but it is also creating a wonderfully-rich map of connections between the thousands of netizens who are now Gmail users. Think of what that can tell Google, and how they might use it.
Update: Just found an article by Steve Gillmor on this very issue, from last month: Gmail has Potential as Enterprise Platform —
Even better would be a link between Gmail’s Conversation View, where threaded messages are collected and stacked together, and related RSS affinity groups.
In fact, Gmail would make a great container for an RSS information router. In the same way you can print a conversation in Gmail, I suggested to Brin, you could also print to RSS. “Yeah,” he said, “that’s a very interesting idea.”