Techcrunch’s Sarah Perez recently made a post about a new capability offered by CloudMagic, a search-focused email app. While the CloudMagic solution doesn’t quality as a personal assistant or virtual agent, the new functionality Perez describes is intriguing. It might be worth exploring providing similar capabilities in a mobile personal assistant app.
CloudMagic Mail’s new feature is called “cards.” Cards are basically integrations to third-party apps that are seamlessly integrated with the CloudMagic email interface. Examples of several of these integrations are shown in a CloudMagic video.
If you receive an email that contains an interesting recipe, you can easily call up an Evernote card to file the recipe away for future reference. A tap allows you to take a news story you like straight from an email and into Pocket. You can add tasks to Trello. If you get an email from a sales prospect, you can quickly add the contact to Salesforce.com.
The CloudMagic cards knit all of your support tools together as if they were one unified application. The tools themselves become essentially invisible. It’s just the information that remains, and you’re able to store and access this information in the way that’s most convenient and effective for you.
CloudMagic cards brings up the question: couldn’t this work with digital personal assistants? The best personal assistants are agents that can bridge the gap between all the different apps and tools that you need. I’d like a personal assistant that I can instruct to take information out of my emails and include it in project plans, or powerpoint presentations, or enterprise applications.
How can we create personal assistants that have this inherent integration capability? In his book The Software Society, which I reviewed a few weeks back, Bill Meisel writes about the need for a set of web standards that could help personal assistant applications locate specific content (maybe something like snippet mark-up?). Perhaps these standards could include APIs to third party applications that would allow any personal assistant to access them and update or retrieve data. These types of standards might help us realize the dream of an efficient ecosystem of capabilities that our personal assistants can leverage to make our lives easier. The CloudMagic cards may be just a taste of good things to come.