Like a bazillion people, I got an account but haven’t done anything with it yet, so this review is quite interesting.
The productivity nut in me appreciates the sane defaults and the mobile experience, but the ex-Exchange admin and former
imap_sieve user keeps wondering how much further we’d have evolved if server-side rules had become more accessible to regular humans.
What really appeals to me, however, is the mobile experience.
To this day, I have my
Mail.app “inbox”/default view set to a smart folder on my Macs (something that I keep expecting Apple to break) and Gmail filters that do a little of what Hey does to lessen the crud overall, but the mobile experience on iOS (across the vast majority of mail clients) is just crappy in comparison (or proprietary, or both).
If Apple hadn’t broken iOS mail and spent a little on server-side functionality, they’d have been able to do 200% of this for decades (VIPs and passive-aggressive Junk filtering don’t count).
Gmail has pushed a lot of server-side logic (content classification, suggestions, etc.) but has clearly lost their way as well (and don’t get me started on its mobile client or web UX), and, of course, IMAP doesn’t come with matching standards for server-side filtering, so the whole thing is a three-ring circus, and the client side has been on fire for decades now.
So yes, Hey has a reason for being. I just don’t know if it has a reason for lasting, because there is so much low-hanging fruit here that just about anyone else running an e-mail service can do the same, and the reasons they haven’t done so is: a) return on investment b) privacy implications and c) inertia (pick any two).
Ironically, I have a lot of similar features in the Office 365 webmail Interface (which is what I use to get work done, in Firefox, because it’s miles ahead of the Outlook desktop clients and doesn’t turn my machines into leaf blowers).
Five years ago I wouldn’t have expected to say this, but webmail can be done sanely in a corporate setting, and Microsoft has absolutely nailed it (if you’re in the ecosystem).
That aside, and given that I still prefer a native client for my personal mail (which requires far less grooming) I just don’t see how Hey can help me personally, but then again I’ve always been very opinionated about organizing (and prioritizing) things.