-- I met with the makers of Fuser about a year ago, and was, admittedly a bit underwhelmed by their product. Fuser had just come out with its beta product, which is a central mail and messaging inbox into which mail from all your various email inboxes (MySpace, Facebook, Gmail, etc.) could flow. At the time I wasn't impressed with the narrow scope of the product -- not enough to use it.
I met with the Fuser folks again today. They have made some impressive changes to their product, and have some pretty cool ideas for the future too.
First off, the number of email account types you can aggregate is much higher now. Fuser can grab mail from 94 percent of all email clients out there, including all the major ones. It also continues to grab mail from the two major social networking sites--Facebook and MySpace.
The Fuser mailbox is simple and seems to follow the recognizable Microsoft Express template. One the left-hand pane you can see all of your mailboxes from Yahoo Mail to Facebook. You can choose to see mail from all of those accounts, or just one or two, in the main, or central, pane of the app.
Fuser has also added Twitter to the mix, but Fuser wisely does not handle "tweets" in the same way it does email. You can open up another left-hand pane to view a constant feed of tweets from any Twitterers you happen to be following.
As we know, Facebook is moving toward the sort of real-time, always-on messaging that Twitter has made so popular. Fuser, although it doesn't yet, is looking at plans to integrate real-time updates from your friends on Facebook too--like status changes, alerts, pokes, Zombie Bites, whatever. These might be displayed the way Twitter tweets are displayed, perhaps under a different tab.
In short, I'm convinced Fuser has stuck to its original plan of being a dynamic central email and messaging inbox, but has been pretty shrewd about adding new stuff that people like--like the Twitter feeds.
Fuser is now getting into the behavioral stuff too. Meaning that the app can track when and with what type of client you are most likely to receive email from your contacts, and when and how you are most likely to respond. For instance, the app might tell you that if you use Gmail to reach your boss on a Saturday, you're likely to get a response back in an average of 2 hours, whereas if you use Facebook you won't get an answer until next week. Stuff like that. To what extent Fuser will use that information to intelligently adapt itself to your habits remains to be seen.
Personally, I have five email accounts and three social networking message inboxes. Fortunately, I have my personal contacts trained to use only my Gmail account to reach me. My work contacts use my PC World corporate address. But for a lot of people those lines are not so clearly drawn. If I was in the unfortunate position of getting all kinds of email in all of my various accounts, and if I was more active on the social networking sites, I would be very tempted to use a tool like Fuser to preserve my sanity. I may yet.