A icon to save your ass

I just forwarded an email asking for an RFP around to the team at Cloudspace, and since I use address book autocomplete, I checked the email addresses very carefully before sending the email. I’ve heard of (and seen) too many instances where someone quickly sent an email, and addressed it to the wrong person. Funny how it seems to happen most when the person who actually receives the message is the one person who it should definitely have not gone to.

Ideally, my email client would have pictures of everyone, automatically grabbed from their Facebook/Myspace/Interblag Networking accounts. Humans are so visual that it would be immediately noticed if an email wasn’t going to who I wanted it to.

I think the next best thing — at least from a corporate email perspective — would be an highly noticeable icon in the mail window that would only display if all recipient email addresses matched a set of criteria. Some obvious ideas are:

  • All domains match each other
  • All domains are on a whitelist
  • All domains match the sender’s domain

It should be easy enough to hack together an extension for Thunderbird to implement the “highly noticable icon,” but I know that the photos of everyone is the killer of the two. I think it’ll be another few years before we have good enough pictures of everyone (in terms of being auto-grabbable, and not having to take their picture deliberately), but I think the concept will show up soon.