电子邮件未过时 You’ve still got mail
I rediscovered my old AOL e-mail account this week and was taken down e-memory lane as the famous “You’ve Got Mail!” message boomed from the PC speaker as I signed in. After years of neglect and only spam in my inbox, it was like a voice from beyond the grave – and with the same old US accent they never localised for the UK with a British voice proclaiming: “Post Is Here!”
上个月，我重新找出了我的老AOL电子邮箱帐号，登录后，电脑音箱中传出一声大家都很 熟悉的“你有新邮件！”，将我带上了电子记忆的小路。这个邮箱已经被我荒废了好几年，里面只有些垃圾邮件，这声突然响起的“你有新邮件！”，仿佛自坟墓中 发出，而且还是原来的美国发音——AOL一直没有把它在英国本地化，用英式发音宣称：“邮件来了！”。
I had logged in because I was taking the pulse of e-mail in general. Its obituary has been written repeatedly by the media over the past 10 years – strangled by spam in 2003, smothered by social networks in 2007 and razed by real-time communication such as Google Wave in 2009, before predictions of being finished off by Facebook Messages this year.
我之所以再次登录这个邮箱，是因为我在给电子邮件把脉。过去10年里，媒体无数次为电 子邮件写下了讣告——2003年，被垃圾邮件掐死；2007年，被社交网络闷死；2009年，被谷歌波浪(Google Wave)等实时通讯工具压死；然后是今年，预言会被Facebook Messages干掉。
Spam is still a problem but more contained. Social networks give us peripheral vision of what our friends are up to but there is still a need for the e-mail equivalent of direct eye-contact. Wave, now cast adrift by Google, showed it was cool to see someone live-typing to you character by character, but it was never going to be the best way to organise your life. Facebook Messages looks promising for communicating with friends in new ways, but not for business use.
垃圾邮件的问题如今依然存在，但是已经不那么严重了。社交网络让我们可以从侧面了解到 我们的朋友们在干些什么，但电子邮件这种直接的目光接触仍然是必要的。现已从谷歌中独立出来的波浪，向我们展示了一种很酷的体验——看到对方把要跟你说的 话现场一个字一个字地打出来，但这绝不是管理生活的最好方法。在提供朋友间新的联络方式方面，Facebook Messages看上去很有前途，但却不适合商业用途。
E-mail services have fought back by absorbing all these new features. From my Gmail inbox page, I can reply to e-mail, check voicemail, send texts and instant messages, call phones and videoconference through a Google Chat widget, tweet, update my Facebook page and catch up on Google’s own social network, Buzz.
电子邮件服务吸收了所有这些新元素，向对手展开了反击。从我的Gmail邮箱页面上， 我可以回复邮件、查看语音留言、发送短消息和即时讯息、通过Google Chat微件打电话和开视频会议、发送Twitter信息、更新Facebook主页、了解谷歌自己的社交网络Buzz的最新动态。
The inbox has become the Grand Central Station for knowledge workers, we were told at a Silicon Valley conference I attended recently, called Inbox Love. E-mail was very much alive, the speakers concluded, but its users were in a parlous state thanks to information overload – “You’ve Got Mail!” now invokes feelings of dread.
我最近在硅谷参加了一个会议，名叫收件箱之恋。会上有人说，电子邮箱如今变成了知识工 作者的纽约中央车站（全球最大、最忙碌的运输建筑——译注）。发言者的结论是，电子邮件依然生机勃勃，但由于信息过载，电邮用户们却处境堪忧——“你有新 邮件！”的声音现在激起的更多是恐惧。
For me, the e-mail offerings of internet service providers and the e-mail clients that many companies still rely on are the dead men walking. Such desktop programs – including Eudora, Lotus Notes, Outlook and Thunderbird – seem outmoded now that we want to check our e-mail all the time from all manner of devices.
在我看来，互联网服务提供商提供的电子邮件服务和许多公司依然倚赖的电子邮件客户端， 不过是即将临刑的死囚。那些PC端电子邮件收发程序，如Eudora、Lotus Notes、Outlook和Thunderbird，如今似乎已经过时，因为我们希望能够随时从各种设备上查看我们的邮件。
It is webmail services – led by Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Gmail – that allow us quick access to e-mail, stored remotely in the internet “cloud”, from any computer’s browser as well as providing fast, richly featured versions for smartphones and tablets.
After moving over the years from AOL and Hotmail to Yahoo Mail and now Gmail, I keep things simple – settling on one service and inbox and setting it up to import mail from previous addresses automatically.
I abandoned my company’s Lotus Notes in 2008 by autoforwarding my FT.com e-mails to Gmail, quickly reducing an inbox with 10,000 messages to a few hundred by filtering and filing e-mails away under Gmail’s labels system. The fast search and unlimited storage meant I could confidently archive thousands of e-mails because I could find them again quickly.
2008年，我放弃了公司的Lotus Notes，将我的FT.com邮件自动转发到Gmail上，利用Gmail标签系统的过滤和分档，迅速将上万封邮件缩减到几百封。快速搜索功能和无限存 储空间意味着，我可以放心地将几千封电邮存在我的邮箱里——反正要用的时候我可以迅速找到。
Gmail is constantly being updated with features developed in Google Labs, such as being able to undo sending an e-mail. Google says the service is growing rapidly and, certainly, its rivals have been prompted into more wholesale revamps – for instance, AOL has a Project Phoenix plan under way to improve its offering.
Gmail在不断添加谷歌实验室(Google Labs)开发出来的新功能，比如说，Gmail现在已经可以撤销邮件的发送。谷歌表示，Gmail电邮服务发展得很快，当然，它的竞争对手们也被迫大举 更新——例如，AOL就在开展一个凤凰项目(Project Phoenix)计划，来改善它的电邮服务。
Hotmail has been transformed in the past year, with a much more attractive interface and deeper integration with other Microsoft products. Photos and Office documents can be uploaded to its SkyDrive “cloud” storage and linked to, shared and viewed in a pane in the inbox without cluttering it up with a big file attachment. Active Views e-mails, introduced in December, allows users to interact within an e-mail – for example, you can watch a video from Hulu or search for a hotel room within an e-mail from the travel service Orbitz.
过去一年，Hotmail发生了巨大改变，如今界面好看多了，与其他微软 (Microsoft)产品的结合也更为紧密。用户可以将照片和办公文档上传到它的SkyDrive云存储中，直接链接到收件箱供友邻分享和浏览，而不必 上传巨大的附件。12月问世的动态观看(Active Views)邮件功能，让用户能够在邮件内互动——例如，你可以通过Hulu观看视频，或者通过旅行服务网Orbitz搜索电子邮件中提到的酒店。
Yahoo Mail released a beta version last October that it claims is twice as fast as the existing version. It has also opened its inbox for third parties to add services – for example, users can choose YouSendIt to send e-mails with attachments of up to 100Mb in size. I also like OtherInbox, a third-party service that automatically sorts low-priority e-mails into folders to reduce the size of your inbox.
去年10月，雅虎邮箱发布了一个测试版，声称速度是现有版本的两倍。雅虎还向第三方开 放插件开发。例如，雅虎邮箱的用户可以选择第三方插件YouSendIt来发送邮件，附件可高达100兆。我也很喜欢第三方插件OtherInbox，它 可以自动将重要级别较低的邮件分拣到其他邮件夹里，从而给收件箱瘦身。
OtherInbox also plugs into Gmail, which has a couple of other plug-ins that I especially like, including TaskForce, which converts and groups e-mails into tasks, and Rapportive, which is similar to Xobni in Outlook. Rapportive adds a panel to an e-mail to show a picture of the person who has e-mailed and includes some biographical details and the latest social networking activity, all helping to put a face and much more to a name.
Gmail也使用了OtherInbox这款插件。它还有几款别的插件我也特别喜欢， 包括可以将邮件转换成任务并进行分组的TaskForce，以及功能类似于Outlook中的Xobni的Rapporttive——它会在邮件的发件人 处添加一栏，放上发件人的照片和简介及其最近在社交网站上的活动，这样一来，发件人就不再只是有个名字，而是“有头有脸”，含有丰富的信息。
Faces and people are what Facebook knows all about. Its Messages section became a more fully fledged e-mail service in November. The inbox is automatically confined to the people you know and communicate with. A list of names topped by the latest communication has no subject lines, just the top line of the message added. All interactions, from e-mails to texts and instant messaging, are included in one long thread with each person, and photos and videos can be attached.
头像和用户，这是Facebook最擅长的部分。去年11月，Facebook Messages开始成为一个更完善的邮箱产品——默认只从认识和有联系的人那里接受邮件。邮箱列表中，每个发件人名字上方只显示其最新邮件的第一行，没 有邮件标题。所有的互动——从邮件、短信到即时消息，都列在每个联系人的下方——长长的一串，还可以添加照片和视频。
It is a pleasant experience – viewing individual histories of pure conversations with just people you know.
That, if my spam-cluttered memory serves me right, is what we liked so much about e-mail before life became more complicated.