Why is There No Universal Email Web Client?

Wow. It’s been over a month since my last blog post. And who would’ve thought possible, but I think I got sunburnt today. Really? My forearms are really red…

Today I wanted to rant about a technology that should’ve existed a long time ago, but I have not found any company that offers the product I want. Back before GMail made its debut, everyone was using Outlook or Eudora (I still remember servicing Eudora clients during my college job).

However, once GMail came out, that changed how people began to use email. Shortly after, Hotmail (now Live Mail) and Yahoo followed suit, with the convenient access and the high storage capacity. And for most people, that’s enough. Most people only have 1 personal email address and 1 work email address, and GMail and these other web email solutions work out great for them.

However, one of the main reasons people I think people have stuck with Outlook or Mail is the fact it can support multiple accounts. I have 4 or 5 different email accounts that I use on a regular basis and it’s extremely convenient to be able to access all of them in 1 simple application. I can search through ALL my emails, quickly glance to see which accounts have new emails, select which email account I want to send from, etc.

In today’s model, each email service has its on web client. If I didn’t have access to my computer or smart phone and wanted to check my email through a public terminal or a friend’s computer, I would have to sign in and out of each email account on their respective websites, which is a hassle.

Why hasn’t anyone made a email client web app that supports multiple email accounts. Outlook does have a web version called OWA (Outlook Web Access), but it only works for the exchange server that is backing it. I want to be able to provide an app with my email credentials and it would go and fetch all my email into 1 convenient location, where I can access from any computer in the world.

GMail does support fetching email from external accounts into your GMail account and they even have the ability to send as a different email address (once verified), but you lose the separation of accounts, which I find important.

Before I got my smart phone, the way I got around this was remoting back into my PC at home and using Outlook on that machine. I still do that today, but with my smart phone which also has access to all my email accounts, it’s has become less of an issue. Still I find myself composing emails through the remote session since typing emails that are more than a couple sentences long is such a pain on your smart phone.

Maybe one day, my wish will come true.

2 Replies to “Why is There No Universal Email Web Client?”

    1. That’s still not true separation of accounts. Some issues off the top of my head:
      1. You can’t share the account with anyone else.
      2. Migrating email accounts will be a pain if even possible.
      3. You’re locked into using 1 specific email service provider.

      Tagging emails makes it easier to sort emails from different accounts, but it’s just another way of saying that email account gets its own folder. I won’t disagree it’s probably currently the best thing out there, but that’s not really saying much given how web apps and email have evolved over the past decade.

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