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IBM unveils web-based email service

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There’s a new player on the field (with Google, Microsoft and Drop­­­­­­­­box) reinventing email. IBM has announced Verse, an email service combined with other collaboration and social media functions that aims to help employees spend less time organizing their inboxes.

The company plans to offer the service free to individuals and small businesses and hopes to sell a commercial version to businesses, according to Marina Lopes, Reuters, in Business Insider.

Verse integrates social media, calendars, contacts, file sharing and analytics to help highlight the most important messages and give greater insights about the people exchanging them.

The software provides an “at a glance” view, which combines a person’s action items from not just email, but also calendars, to-do lists and online meeting documents, notes Pete Pachal, Mashable. IBM says the software that highlights the most important action items can learn over time and eventually predict which messages an employee should prioritize, he says.

Verse’s built-in personal assistant can draft responses to emails based on similar previous, reports Lopes.

It also allows users to transform email content into threads for blogs and social media, view the relationships between different employees in an email, mute a chain and search through attachments, writes Lopes. These contacts are shown in thumbnail images at the top of the screen. The email’s interface pins a user’s most frequent contacts, schedule and lists of assignments to a dashboard, she says.

With Verse, on any email thread a user clicks through to see a visual tree of connected people, how they’re connected and their job in the company. The system learns over time, so if you forget someone, Verse suggests people to add, Pachal reports.

IBM says the idea behind Verse is to bring fast search capabilities, like Amazon and other online retailers, into the mail experience, according to Rachel King, Tech Crunch.

The email service will also offer access to the company’s Watson machine-learning based analysis engine. Users can submit reports and other information to the service, and conduct searches against the collected material, says Joab Jackson, PC World.

Verse will only be available for iOS and Android.

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