Gmail is a product with a huge market share in the industry. Improve could mean a lot of things but given that it already has a really strong user-base, I would say that the focus should be user engagement.
Currently, Gmail is an application where users could read,archive,delete,write,search emails. Gmail targets several different personas that have different user needs and painpoints.
1. Enterprise – Companies use the comprehensive solution and Gmail is one of the major products. I’d focus on Candidate Sourcers. Gmail does not support anything for these people and has no functionality to assist with sending massive emails out to people.
2. Individuals – Gmail lacks integration with other applications that could be useful – for example, Google keep. I’d love to be able to take notes while reading emails on the same tab.
3. Kids – Gmail isn’t very child-friendly. Although it’s UI/UX is simple, there is no entertainment value. There should be something fun!
Of all the three above, #1 is most likely the most interesting. Although it could be more effort than #2 and #3, it can tie into stronger partnerships, more B2B customers, and higher revenue.
Candidate Sourcers look for people on various sites like LinkedIn and try to email and recruit potential candidates. They send 20~30 emails per day and care a lot about email open rate and engagement.
Although there are decent guidelines and structures available, Gmail has the detailed analytics on what really drives email open rate and engagement.
Gmail should provide these candidates sourcers, when they’re composing an email, the likelihood that the recipient would open the email. Every recipient would have a different % because everyone is different. This will tremendously help with these sourcing efforts and even lead to high adoption rate for Gmail.
The tradeoff and risk for this feature is –
1. Privacy – assessing % means Gmail is “reading” the user’s emails. However, this is already done when Gmail filters Spam so it could be potentially okay.
2. Technological challenges – There will be some effort required by data science and research to accurately display a %.
3. Usage – Although this is meant for candidate sourcing – it could also be used by advertisers. This does lead to more revenue for Google, but users could find it extremely annoying.
For rolling this feature out, like mentioned here, start with candidate sourcing / recruiting. Later, it could dive into advertisers. This could scale in the future and Gmail could potentially also suggest titles, content and more utilizing complicated machine learning algorithms.