Back in the 2000s I used to be an avid user of first Trillian (Windows) and then Adium (2006 onward) to be my single IM app. IM, Microsoft Messagener, ICQ*, Google Talk - They were all in my Adium and I didn’t care.
Then 2010s came, and sometime after we’ve lost technology of message aggregators, and entered era of walled gardens. Whatapp can’t talk to Allo, Allo can’t talk to Hangouts*, Telegram, Snap, Line, Wire etc.
I complained** first year, but soon I realized that it’s a feature! I can use multiple messenger systems to wall off different types of activities, at this very moment I have:
- Whatapp - Boring. Home errands, work chat.
- Telegram - Friends and Gifs.
- Allo - I’m sort of trying this out, integration with Assistant could make it viable solution for home errands and other stuff actually.
- Signal - Using this one for emergencies. It’s installed on all of my devices but only limited amount of people can text me on it. 3 to be exact.
So I created all those walled gardens and decided that while it’s a hack it’s a workable solution that actually brings calm into my life. But how do we move this from the “hack” to a proper solution?
What I really want from messenger apps is two things:
- Have an ability to intercommunicate.
- Have an ability to install multiple versions of same app in different contexts/profiles.
What is a context?
Context is a combination of Time, Activity, and Location.
- Monday - Thursday from 10:00 to 19:00 - It’s work time, I want work related messages to be shown up in my notifications center I want to know that I have messages that I might have to triage.
- Everyday from 5:00 - 9:00 when I’m at Gym - I want only emergency images to pop up.
- Everyday from 5:00 - 9:00 when I’m not at Gym - I want all non work messages to popup.
We could also add device to this algorithm - When it’s morning, I’m not at gym and I’m on tablet That means I’m working want to focus on task. If I’m on my phone - then please disturb.