We’re Fil, Lambert and Matt, the founders of EasyEmail (https://easyemail.ai). EasyEmail is a Gmail plug-in that helps you write emails quickly. We train our software with your inbox and quickly suggest what you should write based on your previous responses.
We started working on improving how email is used about a year and a half ago, when Fil was organizing the MIT Fall Career Fair, an event for 6,000 people and 450 companies. He was sending 200-300 emails a day and feeling suffocated by the volume. We started chatting about some sort of a solution, and after a long journey (including a car crash on the way to our YC interview!) we finally have a working product and some happy users.
Our current product is a Chrome Extension helps you write emails with two main components: autocomplete, and hotkeys.
Autocomplete searches through every sentence you’ve ever sent in the past and suggests 5 sentences you might say at this moment. An example could be me typing “how a” and the autocomplete suggesting “How are you doing?” together with 4 other sentences. This feature turned out to be harder than we expected because users say things that start similarly a lot (I have 207 unique sentences starting with “how a”). The question is how to sort all those sentences so they’re most likely to choose one of the top 5. Our sentence-matching algorithm includes things like frequency, recency, and context from the email you’re replying to.
Hotkeys are a quick way to enter snippets of text that you repeat a lot, but that aren’t sentences, like a link that you send a lot, or pieces of text that you send often but don’t merit a new template.
It’s very exciting to work on this problem, because email is so universal. That also makes it very hard, because we need to satisfy a lot of different email users. There's also a lot of competition - most prominent is probably SmartReply by Gmail (those 3 buttons saying “sounds good” on your mobile app). The most important difference between us and them is that our suggestions are always personalized, since they come from your own mailbox.
This may sound like we’re trying to remove thoughtful emailing by just making our users repeat the same sentences over and over again, but that’s the exact opposite of what we’re going for. Our initial users tend to already send repetitive emails, and we’re just reducing the amount of typing they have to do. The goal is to give everyone more time to put into the non-repetitive parts of emails!
We’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts on the product and your experiences in this area. If you’d like to try out our product, it’s easier to go right away to the Chrome webstore: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/easyemail-ai/giage.... Please let us know what you think!
Congratulations on the launch!
I hope you take to heart the privacy concerns here. In case you haven't come across it, here's a useful thread from last year about Unroll.me's datamining and selling of customers' inboxes, and the general trust problem for services like yours:
Frankly I'm not sure what it would take to convince me to open up email text access to a 3rd party service at this point.
You have to convince me not just that you (Fil, Lambert and Matt) are trustworthy, but also that the three of you can't be bought out by someone less trustworthy (bearing in mind that your customers may well be worth more to a shady business than they are to you!), and also that you're competent to run a hugely valuable database without ever making a mistake (quoting tptacek in the above thread: in your place, "I would be terrified.")
I don't know how you would crack this, but on the risk-of-hacking side as a user I might be looking for technical reassurance -- say, that you're running entirely locally instead of storing my email on your server in the first place, or that you're only using temporary email access to store sentences with k-anonymity or client-side encryption, and that your privacy model has been published in detail for review.
On the risk-of-purchase side you could look at Keith Porcaro and Sean McDonald's idea of the Civic Trust, where a private company's data is owned by an independent trust that can protect the interests of your users, separate from the vagaries of your business model:
My feedback here may amount to concern trolling, since I'm over on the paranoid end of potential customers these days and probably not your target audience -- but I'm passing it on in case it's helpful ...
What is the plan to make money off this? Sell what you read in my emails? Charge me a monthly fee at some point? Also my initial reaction was that I wasn't aware that composing an email is slow.
Have you read Avogadro Corp (http://avogadrocorp.com/ )? That novel is based on the premise of a tool that is intended to help you write well-crafted emails yet quickly gets out of hand.
I'm not suggesting at all this will be the case here but this seems related and might be an interesting read.
As someone who runs a support team I saw this and immediately thought “this needs to be a zendesk app.”
There is a lot of knowledge hidden in support ticket replies but it’s didficult to know what other team members previous answers would be useful to crib from without guessing search terms. Heck you may even forget exactly how to find your own answer from a few months ago.
On top of that there are concepts we have to communicate all the time as building blocks of a reply, which is where it seems this service may thrive. Let me know when you need beta testers for the zendesk version :-D
OK, I'm loving a couple of things:
1. As someone in sales, there are a truckload of emails I send out each day. Contrary to what a lot of people think, no, we don't send out templated stuff blindly. I think EE should be able to help me shave off about half an hour in think-time in a a day. Huge.
2. Organic-ish. Early days, I know, but I'm hoping that EE won't devolve to a glorified SmartReply with additional text templates.
3. There's a roadmap for pro-users. Which means at some point of time, there _might_ just be an Outlook/Polymail plugin(please say yes). Which is when I absolutely win. :-) Also, it's nice to be relatively assured that your data isn't likely to be sold.
What is on the roadmap for this service? You have hotkeys and autocomplete which means I can write emails more quickly. You have access to my email / history of digital life (contacts, relationships, connections, brands I am willing to let get into my inbox, etc): what will you do with this data to further improve the email experience?
I find a couple things irksome, if not malicious.
I get its a prototype, I get the "potential", but it seems you put 0 critical thought into making the app safe.
It is interesting to see Chrome Plugins being accepted into YC. Is the potential really worth a billion dollar market ? I would think that YC wants to invest in startups that could scale to high growth in a short span of time. Are Chrome plugins really worth that much ?
Or perhaps this is just the MVP and idea is to scale it further ?
I'd like to see you auto suggest frequent attachments. In some ways this should be a more accessible feature, and certainly useful.
I've been testing easymail for a couple weeks (the gmail add-on and the chrome plugin). So far a very positive experience - saves me time on repetitive emails. Looking forward to updates & more AI.
I would love to use you service but it is not acceptable for me to share my email contents with someone else. Look at how mega cloud storage are protecting users files
This is awesome guys. To reply to all the people that are like this is not a big enough problem, tell them that this is the start and then tell them what is the next stage of your company.
To me, it sounds like a personal assistant that can automatically reply for you to fairly complex emails. We get SO MUCH email, maybe this will actually help us manage all that.
It is a very powerful idea, all the best to you.
I’m very apprehensive about using something that doesn’t charge me but reads my e-mail.
Then again it’s a gmail plugin :P
Do you have numbers around how often autocomplete is used? For example, using your "how a" example, what percentage of time will a user select a suggested autocomplete?
Do you guys feel like your product could replace mail merges?
Whats the difference between Launch HN and Show HN?
Just added the extension. Curious why you need access to my calendar?
No love for Firefox?