There are hundreds and hundreds of internet-based messaging apps and services out there. Most of them are closed silos that require everyone else to install the same app if you want to communicate with them. That’s the wrong way to do things. It’s technological segregation. Spike’s messaging app actually respects internet communications diversity by implementing its features on top of the global “for the people, by the people” messaging standard called email. We’ve written about the advantages of this approach before when this app had a different name: “Hop: how instant messaging should have been done decades ago“.

Spike’s messaging app has basically added modern chat features such as read receipts, encryption, video calling, file sharing, listsrv group messaging, etc. to the most widely used open standard of internet messaging thus making most other closed-off messaging apps seem irrelevant. You do have to use the Spike app to get some of those features, but the point is that email conversations still work on literally everything with an internet connection. You can use any email client to access your Spike conversations no matter the location, operating system, service provider, or internet connection of your device.

Today Spike is adding more collaborative features that maintain that all-inclusive works-everywhere ideology that all software makers should respect.

When the update arrives, there will be a new up arrow button next to the blue circle pencil button on the toolbar. This will reveal a pop-up where you can type a title and create a new note or task. You can then share these notes or tasks with anyone who has an email account (over 4 billion people = about half the world’s population), and if they use the Spike app to open the email, they’ll have full access to the notes or tasks within the Spike app. If they use a different email program, the sharing notification will open the shared note or task within a web browser where they can take part in the same collaboration capabilities without having to use the Spike app. It works similarly to Spike’s video calling capability in that it works perfectly with anyone who has an email account and a web browser. This is how things should be!

The notes and tasks features also have a secondary messaging capability in the form of comments. These do not appear as separate emails, but are attached to the note or tasks items that are saved on Spike’s servers and associated with your account. It’s kind of an inception effect; having a messaging app within a messaging app… but it makes sense to have comments associated with the documents.

The tasks and notes documents also appear right in the same listing as your messaging/email threads and they’ll move to the top when an update is made. Having more personal information management features integrated into a single app reminds me a lot of Microsoft Outlook 98, and that’s a good thing. Having too many disparate apps to manage can greatly increase cognitive load and decrease efficiency.

These new features are a first release though, so they are probably not going to replace other note taking services or task management apps that may be much more robust. For example, Spike does not yet have import & export options for tasks and notes, nor can they sync with other apps as well as their messaging capabilities do via email. A lot of that has to do with the issue that there really isn’t any open standard way of notes and tasks collaboration. For contacts sync with have CardDAV. For calendar appointments we have CalDAV. For messaging we have email. There’s nothing like that for task and note management.

Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!
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